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Around* the Mediterranean vith my 



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3 1148 01169 8990 

Around the Mediterranean 
With My Bible 






Copyright, 1948 

Printed in the United States of America 


Two who opened doors 

Jacob H. Goldner 

Jacob Nusaibeh 

One who smoothed pathways 
My Mother 



MISS PATTERSON has written this work as a labor of 
love, though u labor " is an inadequate word. It is 
her matured contribution to a better understanding of the im 
memorial and interwoven association of the Bible with the 
shores and hinterlands of the Mediterranean; and she has 
thus named it. It is far more than the vivid telling of a single, 
sunlit voyage over the bluest of seas, whose very waters are 
Spread with memories and along coasts of enchantment. She 
has written out of a long acquaintance with what she studies 
and describes. She has herself conducted parties over the 
routes she follows here and this gives her book a rich texture. 

She knows what to look for and where and how to find it. 
She has seen the ports into which she sails so often that ob 
servation and recollection combine in her telling. She knows 
her guides and dragomen, has no fear of customs officials 
though she did have a trying experience with one once over 
a rug. This gives the book an ease and assurance in move 
ment which is part of its charm and yet there is nothing in it 
of the swagger of the blas6 traveller which is itself an 
achievement. Since these are her own experiences, she uses 
the first personal pronoun singular frankly and without 

Her itinerary is determined both by geography, history, the 
courses of the ships she used and the inland lines of travel she 
followed. The book is thus naturally written out from and 
around successive bases, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece, Italy, 
Its handling of the great material involved is highly com 

And always there was her Bible, which she knows as she 


6 Foreword 

knows its lands. When she reaches the place, the proper 
Biblical association is there. She meets St. Paul as they sail 
east past Crete, he is waiting for her in Damascus and bids her 
farewell in Rome. Here her touch is sure and sufficient; this 
makes the book of very great value to all Bible students, to 
ministers and teachers. 

The author knows, as well, the secular history if history 
is ever purely secular of the regions about which she writes* 
She follows the movements of the races which have moved 
through and across this middle sea since history began. This, 
too, enriches the texture of the work. And finally her knowl 
edge of recent archeological explorations brings the work up 

to date. 


Miss Patterson writes as she travelled leisurely. She had 
time to haunt the bazaars, drink a drop of coffee with an in 
gratiating merchant of fascinating wares, visit with children, 
drop in on an Arab school, note flowers, plants, trees. Crafts 
men hammer for her readers their brasses or blow their glass, 
all as their ancestors did. The camel, the donkey, the truck 
and the motor car pass through her pictured pages* The 
peasant farmer goes out to work and comes home as he did 
under the Pharaohs. The author has a vivid sense of color. 
Her description, say of Damascus street scenes, is bright with 
color. She notes the play of light across sacred mountains and 
magic dawns and twilights. But all this, in detail, would 
make the introduction as long as the work. But it must be 
noted again and again how faithful the author is to her title. 
The Old Testament is here and the New. Their persons, their 
places, their mountains, lakes and rivers, their shrines, their 
monuments and their memories. This is the book s central 

# * # 

I venture, in conclusion, one observation in a time when 

Foreword 7 

every conclusion is a venture and all anticipation a hazard. I 
doubt if any work similar to this in observed content will soon 
or ever again be written. In a way and without reproach, it 
is dated- It is written out of the period between the last 
World War and the beginning of the next (1939). The 
Near East she knows so well had already begun to change. 
Jerusalem was getting modern suburbs. There were tractors 
in Esdraelon* Even with continued peace, the lands which 
furnish her subject matter would have been markedly 
changed. But for her the spirit and substance were still there, 
though the habits, customs and costumes of the West had 
begun to erode the East. 

And now? As this is written (April 27, 1941) the radio 
announces an alien flag with a strange device above the 
Acropolis* Mechanized armies whose bequest is tragedy grind 
on and down into dust what seeks to hinder them; nothing 
old and precious seems any longer safe* It may be that the 
future will be sadly grateful to Miss Patterson for having, in 
her full and characteristic way, sought to keep alive what may 
become, outside a book, only a memory touched with the tears 
of things. 


During the two years following the end of World War II, 
I have taken the opportunity of revising and rewriting numer 
ous portions of this book, bringing it up to date. 


October, 1947 



CHAPTER I . . . . . , . , 17 

I have my first glimpse of Gibraltar gateway to the Mediter 
ranean. I see it at midnight 


I begin my journey around the Mediterranean with my Bible. 
Describes my recollections past and present on the subject of the 
"Middle Sea," called "Mare Nostrum" by the Greeks and 
" Hinder Sea " by the Hebrews, 


I visit Marseilles where the Phoceans and Romans have pre 
ceded me, I walk in the St. Jean quarter, begin ecclesiastical 
history at the Cathedral, find the harbor gay with twinkling lights, 
lively with little boats, and eat " bouillabaise." High above the 
city from her hillside retreat the golden statue of Notre Dame 
smiles her blessing and bids me * Godspeed " as I take up the 
trail again that leads to the Holy Land. 


I spend four hours passing Crete where I see the bay which 
sheltered Paul s ship during the voyage which ended in shipwreck 
and remember Titus. I learn the Philistines who settled on the 
west coast of Palestine are descendants of the Sea Kings of Crete 
and a corruption of their name from which we get the name 
" Palestine " today is the only thing which has come down to us 
from them. 


I enter Egypt through Alexandria, stop to discover some " first 
things " here, then follow the canal to Cairo. I seek Moses at the 
Nile, and watch a funeral cortege. I tour the Pyramids, meet 
the Sphinx, drink coffee on the desert, and have broiled quail for 
dinner. I am drawn to the Museum to see the gold of Tutank 
hamen and the Tel el Amarna tablets. Cairo is a city of con 
trasts. I visit some of her four hundred mosques, go shopping in 
the " Musky," and watch the shifting panorama at tea-time from 
a famous terrace, At Heliopolis, where Moses was instructed by 
the priests of Ra, there is a solitary obelisk; at Mataria, where the 
Holy Family are said to have lived, are a tree, a well, and a 
legend. I see a sunset from the Citadel. 

io Contents 

CHAPTER VI ....... 73 

Describes my journey from the land of Goshen to the edge of 
Sinai and up to Jerusalem, Here three great religions come to 
gether, each worshipping, each dreaming, each guarding as sacred 
her treasures. The Holy City on her proud hills is sacred to 
Christian, Jew, and Moslem. Entering Jaffa Gate, I visit the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Calvary), the Dome of the Rock 
on what once was the Temple area, and the Wailing Wall. 

CHAPTER VII ....... 93 

I walk about Mount Zion, linger in the Upper Room of the 
Gospels, and where Peter denied Jesus hear a cock crow, I stop 
at the Pool of Bethesda. At the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, I 
am shown " Gabbatha." 

CHAPTER VIII ...... .103 

I ramble outside the Old Wall. The Valley of Hinnom 
(Gehenna) holds no terrors now. Siloam Village sprawls on a 
hillside. I go to see the tunnel which Hezekiah cut in the rock 
when the Assyrian threatened to come down * like a wolf on the 
fold." I go through the Kidron Valley to Gihon and climb the 
hill to Gordon s Calvary. I visit the underground quarries which 
provided the stone for Solomon s Temple* 

CHAPTER IX ....... 117 

I spend a morning on the Mount of Olives climbing the Rus 
sian Tower s 214 steps for a view of the Judean Wilderness imd 
Moab, visiting the Chapel of the Ascension, and the Church of 
the Lord s Prayer. I talk with a nun at the Russian Church and 
am given a bouquet of rosemary. I tarry in the Garden of Geth* 
semane. The night before I leave Jerusalem, I return to Olivet 
and spend an hour under a sky spangled with stars and walk be 
neath olive trees whose " little gray leaves were kind to Him." 

CHAPTER X . . . . . . , , 126 

I spend Sunday at Hebron, City of * the friend of God,** En 
route I visit Solomon s Pools and Ortus. I discover that Hebron s 
" welcoming committee " is not out to greet me but the survivors 
of the "Haj." Children bother me at the Mosque. A potter s 
open door invites me to "Look"; a glass factory solves the mys 
tery of Palestine s source of " evil eye " beads, In " the heat of 
the day," I walk through extensive vineyard country and rest near 
the ancient oak at Mamre. 

Contents 1 1 



I speed by automobile from Jerusalem s golden wall via the 
Plain of Rephaim, Rachel s Tomb, Well of the Magi, and Shep 
herds* Field to Bethlehem, As in the time of Boaz and David the 
people are still farmers and shepherds. Bethlehem women have a 
distinctive costume. Crowds jostle at sheep market on Saturday 
morning; markets and houses are no different in aooo years. Re 
ligion is still the inhabitants chief interest. The story of the 
first Christmas unfolds itself against the historic background of 
the Church of the Nativity. I watch a "stranger star" above 
Bethlehem at midnight. I ride a bus to the Shepherds* Village. 


Crossing the Kidron, continuing up and around the shoulder 
of Olivet, I come into Bethany where I visit a Moslem school. I 
follow the road to Jericho as it winds down through fierce gorges 
and hills which roll dull and brown into distance. Modern Jericho 
has sycamores suited to the purposes of a Zaccheus and palms 
reminiscent of when it was called ** a city of palm trees." Ancient, 
excavated Jericho sheds light on the biblical account of the Is 
raelites* invasion of Canaan, the city s capture, and explains how 
the walls fell down flat. With memories of Joshua awakened, I 
go on to the scene of where he led Israel across Jordan in 1400 
B. a I ponder on the river s unique position among the rivers of 
the world, hallowed because of its association with men such as 
Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, and Jesus. I have a view of the 
Mount of Temptation from the Dead Sea, 


I drop in great windings into a region of wrinkled hills ^ and 
emerge from the Judean Wilderness at the Jordan. An inviting 
green road leads me into Gilead. I ford the Jabbok as did Jacob. 
I look in vain for footprints of Jesus at Jerash (Gerasa), best pre 
served example of a Roman " city-plan." I spend the night at 
Amman (Rabbath Ammon), capital of Trans- Jordan and center 
of the Arab camel-raising world, I have a window full of ruins! 
I wake to think of kings and crowns. 


I look back upon Jerusalem from the Nablus Road. Every lit 
tle hill north to Samaria carries the ghost of a Bible city: Gibeah, 
Nob, Ramah, Mlzpah, Beeroth, Bethel, and Shiloh, I rest at 
Jacob s Well, go to Shechem, climb the hill of Samaria, and walk 
its deserted streets with thoughts of Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah, and 

1 2 Contents 

CHAPTER XV . ...... 

Galilee s mountains, valleys, great plain, springs, and her tea 
combine to help me realize why this region was ** the place He 
loved so much to be." I have lunch on Esdraelon in view of 
Gilboa, Little Hermon, and Tabor, come into the noisy world of 
Nazareth to find a well, a hilltop, and a carpenter shop, At 
Cana, the beggars remind me of the mobs who crowded Jesus at 
the wedding feast; the " lilies of the field " growing on the Horns 
of Hattin recall the Sermon on the Mount; my first glimpse of 
Galilee reveals it as blue and beautiful as my dreams. I go to 
Tabgha, watch fishermen, eat ** Peter s fish," and experience a 
storm on Galilee. I stay with the nuns on the Mount of Beati 
tudes, meet some Bedouin children who take me home to it goat- 
hair tent. At Capernaum I see the excavated ruins of an old 
synagogue, the site of Peter s house and read parable* by the sea, 
The Plain of Gennesaret is like a vast green garden, Magdala J* 
only a wretched village. 

CHAPTER XVI ....... 244 

Travelling along the oldest road in the world to Damascus, I 
have a last view of Galilee, glimpses of the Jordan, am stopped for 
contraband at Rosh Pinna, and come within sight of the Mount 
of Transfiguration (Hermon). I travel the last five miles remem 
bering Paul s conversion to Christianity. I wander in the " Street 
called Straight " and the bazaars, see the scene of Paul s escape 
from his enemies, enjoy the garden-court in a princely Syrian 
house, poke around an old khan, and linger at the Grand Mosque, 
formerly a pagan temple, then a Christian church, and now it 
Moslem holy place. I go back to read again an almost forgotten 
Greek inscription on a stone lintel. 

CHAPTER XVII ..... * 263 

Leaving Damascus I drive via the River Barada (Abana) to 
Baalbek, City of the Sun, Few ruins at first sight create such im 
pressions of beauty, majesty, and human skill as this accumulation 
of masonry representing four architectural ages. I wander among 
enormous blocks piled up by the Romans and through courts suc 
ceeding one another in vastness and stand beside the six atu* 
pendous columns remaining from the Great Temple* I am awed 
by the gigantic foundation stones, perhaps the work of Phoenician 
stone-cutters. I have a lovely view from the quadrangle, 

CHAPTER XVIII . , . , . . % #71 

I sail the Palestine Riviera between sunrise and sunset 
Anchored off Jaffa (Joppa) I look over onto the Promised Land* 

Contents 13 


I sail on to Tel Aviv, coast along to Caesarea where Paul lived 
two year*, and come ashore at Haifa, Sunset from Mount Carmel 
with memories of David and Elijah. 


I approach Beirut from overland and by sea and find the city 
equally fascinating. I set out north along the coast road for Dog 
River to inspect the inscriptions carved on the face of the cliff by 
conquerors who, at one time or another, have fought their way 
through this historic pass, beginning with Raamses II to General 
Giraud of France. I follow the Phoenician coast south to Tyre 
and Sidon, 


The approach to Greece has always been by water and so I 
still find it as I debark for a day here. It is a short motor trip 
from sun-baked Piraeus to " violet-wreathed " Athens. I am 
touched by the city s modern comforts and thrill to the splendor 
of her ancient monuments; the Acropolis, Temple of Theseum, 
Theatre of Dionysus, the Tower of Winds, and the Areopagus. 
** Miracles of grace in stone " from the Golden Age lure me first 
to the Acropolis* I sit on Mars Hill where Paul preached and 
wonder what is still in Athens that he looked upon when he came 
as a tourist. Sailing from Piraeus at sunset, I enjoy a charming 
last view of the Acropolis towering above the city and of hills 
softly turning purple, 

CHAPTER XXI , * 315 

Describes my voyage from the Bay of Phaleron to the Bay of 
Naples. I travel to the resurrected Pompeii at the foot of Mount 
Vesuvius to look for traces of the gospel there, go on to exquisite 
Amalfi and think of Andrew, and drive to Sorrento over a fine 
road offering ever-changing views of indescribable scenery. 


I follow in Paul s steps along the Via Appia from Puteoli to 
Rome, I look up "the Apostle s ** hired house," locate Prisca s 
house on the Aventine Hill, and go to the Mamertine Prison. I re 
live the last days of Peter and Paul in the Eternal City, de 
scend into the catacombs, and return to their churches built over 
their tombs. I visit places in Rome associated with the apostles 
and their disciples. My journeys end beneath the wooden cross 
in the Colosseum* 

INDEX 359 


Ancient Olive Tree in Gethsemane .... Frontispiece 


The River Nile, " Old Cairo " 52 

Great Pyramid of Cheops from Mena House Gardens . 56 

The Pyramids and Sphinx at Gizeh 60 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre 82 

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives ... go 

The Pool of Siloam 108 

View of Olivet from Jerusalem 120 

Shepherds Field near Bethlehem 142 

The Church of Nativity, Bethlehem 148 

" The Street of Columns," Jerash 188 

" Main Street," Nazareth 220 

By the Sea of Galilee 226 

Remains of Roman Synagogue, Capernaum .... 238 

Through Opened Doors of Grand Mosque to Booksellers 

Bazaar, Damascus 260 

" A Giant s Fairy Tale in Stone," Baalbek .... 264 

The Headland of Carmel and the Stella Maris Lighthouse 286 

A Miracle of Grace in Stone, The Acropolis at Athens . 308 

The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Amalfi 328 

The Colosseum from the Via dell Impero .... 352 

A Map of the Mediterranean World 

(Courtesy of the American Export Lines) 


1 have my first glimpse of Gibraltar gateway to the Medi 
terranean, I see it at midnight. 

I SHALL never forget my first glimpse of Gibraltar, gate 
way to the Mediterranean. It came only a few hours 
after a dinner companion, a veteran sea-goer, had asked me, a 
neophyte, if I were staying up that night to see the Prudential 
Life Insurance sign on the Rock. Was I staying up to see the 
ROCK? Foolish question! 

For hours, it seemed, we passed close to the mysterious, 
black, ragged coast of Africa, close enough to see the glitter 
ing lights of her cities matching the flotilla of stars which had 
come out of the east to welcome and to guide us. Cruising on 
to u Gib/* the huge rock was outlined against an inky sky 
while high up within the secret honeycombed fortress there 
beckoned a solitary burning light, remote and mysterious as 
a single star. With our changed position the moonlight fell 
over the shoulder of the Pillar of Hercules making a beauti 
ful silvery pathway along the very black, very shiny, rippling 
water from the now anchored steamer in the bay to the 
crouching city at the water s edge. 

The city s lights were the miracle. The houses, the streets 
of Gibraltar were invisible, hidden against that great mass of 
rock. Lines of golden globes that marked the main traffic 
arteries leading away from the crouching city were strung 
out like topaz; in the cuplike hollow that borders the shore a 
thousand lights blazed like jewels. They might have been a 
necklace of yellow diamonds- 

The night was marvelously clear: the sky a deep del- 


1 8 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

phinium blue, the air extremely cold, the wind high. Amidst 
a romantic setting, the passengers, gala in their evening attire, 
swarmed about the rail of the promenade deck looking down 
as low, throaty, resonant voices in strange tongues drifted up 
from the bobbing tenders waiting below. 

Though twas midnight the festive note of the Captain s 
dinner still lingered on in a scene which might easily have 
been a setting for the " Arabian Nights/ As the tenders with 
passengers bound for Portugal and Spain pulled away from 
the liner, we shouted, " Adios." With one accord we lifted 
voices to sing a fond farewell to friends grown dear in eight 
all too short days at sea. " Good-night, Ladies," floated out 
over the water as the ship s anchor was lifted. 

I watched the lovely curving line of glittering shore grow 
fainter; the color, the gayety departed from it as the distance 
widened. Cruising around the Rock, the city of Gibraltar 
was lost from view, but out of the east one low, shining star 
burned brightly, separating itself from all the others and 
beckoning toward another world of culture, philosophy, and 
religion now to be discovered by me. Ever since the star-led 
Magi set out with their caravans on the road to Bethlehem 
two thousand years ago a never-ending stream of pilgrims has 
moved toward the Holy Places, in order to tread with their 
own feet the ground trod by the Bible people and made sacred 
by religious associations. I was adding myself to the un 
counted millions who had preceded me. And lo, this star 
which I saw in the east went before me as I began my Medi 
terranean journeys. 


/ begin my journey around the Mediterranean with my Bible. 
Describes my recollections past and present on the subject of the 
"Middle Sea" called "Mare Nostrum" by the Greeks and 
" Hinder Sea " by the Hebrews, 

ATER passing Gibraltar, it is only a matter of hours until 
one is embarked upon a voyage of cloudless days, blue sky 
curving overhead, and little islands lifting their sharp outlines 
in sunlight from a blue sea, a haven of rest and enjoyment. 
No longer then do skeptics scoff at the idea of blue sea rivalling 
blue sky. I have gotten a peculiar joy from rising early and 
remaining up late at night to see the spectacle of the Mediter 
ranean in all its changing moods and colors, emerald and 
amethyst, turquoise and sapphire, jade and silver which pre 
dominate in turn but never once in all their evanescent love 
liness repeated in exactly the same way. Hours on end I have 
spent in my deck chair looking out upon this vast expanse of 
water, which each hour of the day or night in any season has 
a spell of its own, and musing upon the sea s long and varied 

The livelong day, even far into the night, I have been struck 
with the majesty of this ever-changing, island-strewn inland 
sea, but more than that I have found myself repeating with 
new meaning as I reclined in my deck chair or walked the 
decks and looked out over the Mediterranean: 

" There s a wideness in God s mercy, 
Like the wideness of the sea/ 

As I have looked from the shores of southern Europe across 


20 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the Mediterranean as it rolls away toward North Africa, I 
have felt a sense of the impermanence of material civilizations 
come over me. Only the sea remains. 


" In ancient times the world only possessed one known sea 
of any real importance, and that sea was the Mediterranean. 
Beyond its limits lay the great unknown, while within its con 
fines were concentrated all the chief events of history* Here 
mighty empires rose and fell, and East and West closed in 
mortal conflict. The Mediterranean formed the great trade 
route by which merchants from the East brought their goods 
to the markets of the West. From its shores came the great 
Founder of the Christian faith, whose advent constituted the 
greatest major event in the history of the world/* writes Major 
General E. Poison Newman in The Mediterranean and Its 

Today this waterway is known as the Mediterranean, com 
ing from two Latin words, MEDIUS meaning " middle ** 
and TERRA meaning " land " or " earth/* It was given this 
name because in ancient times it was the very center of the 
most civilized area of the world. Its waters divided southern 
Europe from northern Africa. Its total length from the 
Straits of Gibraltar to Syria is approximately twenty-three 
hundred miles; its greatest breadth is about one thousand 
eighty miles; its total area as it washes the shores of three 
continents Europe, Asia, and Africa is something over a 
million square miles, which is equal to a third of the area of 
the United States. 

It might be well to say just a word about the Straits of 
Gibraltar held by Great Britain and through which travellers 
enter into the Mediterranean. Often it is considered the sea s 
chief outlet, yet technically it is an inlet. Due to evaporation 
the level of the Mediterranean is a little below that of the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 21 

Atlantic Ocean so that the fresher ocean water is constantly 
flowing in through the straits. This is true in spite of the 
large volume of water being poured into the Mediterranean 
by such bodies of water as the Nile, Rhone, Ebro, Po, and 
those waters feeding it through the Dardanelles. 

Aristotle and his contemporaries did not call it " Mediter 
ranean." They called it "Mare Nostrum " (Our Sea) and 
by using this blue medium to float their culture, they justified 
their use of the term. But to many another civilization be 
fore and since it has been " Our Sea " also. 

Consider briefly those who have called it and are still call 
ing it " Mare Nostrum." First, there was the ancient Minoan 
civilization which centered in Crete; then, there was the 
Mycenaean prehistoric of the Aegean Heroic Age; third, the 
Phoenician merchants pushed out from Tyre and Sidon to 
the Greek islands, to Carthage, to Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, 
and Spain (Tarshish), and finally to England and the Baltic; 
fourth, the Ptolemaic Egyptian kingdom used this waterway; 
fifth, the medieval Crusading kingdom of Italian, British, 
French, German, and Spanish dreamers; and coming to our 
time never before have so many nations wanted to claim her 
as "Our Sea. 

The British control the narrow straits at Gibraltar and 
Suez. France from her port at Marseilles keeps an eye on 
restless North Africa: fertile Algeria, rich French Morocco, 
and the strategic Tunisian protectorate. Italy had many air 
bases within firing range of Briiish-owned Malta, which was 
midway between Italian Sicily and Italian Libya. Before 
Libya was lost to her in the war, needing this sea as the 
link between the peninsula and the colonial life of Libya, 
Italy jealously looked upon the Mediterranean, coveting it 
as "Our (Italy s) Sea." Germany for the rich minerals in 
Spain created the Rome-Berlin axis. Meanwhile Spain pos 
sesses Morocco across the sea from her beautiful shores. Rus- 

22 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

sia is interested in the body of water because she had no 
southern waterway and outlet for her rich black oil from Baku 
and, too, because she wants other markets for Ukrainian 
wheat. Turkey has refortified the Dardanelles and has plans 
to improve her Mediterranean ports of Istanbul, Smyrna, and 
Mersina. The republics of Syria and Lebanon face it hope 
fully. Tripoli is an outlet for Iraq petroleum. Egypt, too, 
looks to Alexandria which is her Mediterranean port and to 
Suez as outlets for her cotton shipments. It has become no 
longer a one-track sea, controlled by one nation. Perhaps it 
is more correct to say that it is the most desired. However, of 
all the great events which have taken place along its shores in 
Crete, Greece, Italy, Egypt, or Phoenicia, or even in events 
transpiring there now, it is safe to maintain that none can 
compare in importance, in influence, or in subsequent con 
sequence with what occurred in little Palestine more than 
nineteen hundred years ago at the time when Jesus lived at 
the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, by what he said and 
by what he did. 

For travellers like myself journeying upon this historic 
water way, it becomes for the time being ** Our Sea,** too* 
For persons like myself, chiefly interested in everything as it 
pertains to the Bible, it is not only a voyage to the cradle of 
Hellenic beauty and culture, of Roman law, but it becomes a 
fascinating journey on the highway over which the gospel was 
carried to the great cities of the Roman Empire and raises 
questions on the subject of the Mediterranean and its signifi 
cance in biblical narrative. It is because most of the events 
of the Old and New Testament took place at the eastern end 
of the sea that most people have been apt to call and think 
only of Palestine and Syria as the Holy Land and to forget the 
role the Mediterranean and the lands bordering it have played 
in the destinies of races, religions, and civilizations by dis 
seminating Christian doctrines. Because scores of mission- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 23 

aries carrying the gospel did their vrork about the eastern 
Mediterranean and because the early Church flourished most 
extensively and vigorously in the great cities along its shores, 
it is possible to find a wealth of material to study with the 
Bible around the Mediterranean. Then in that respect the 
whole region bordering it becomes the Holy Land and the 
entire voyage a pilgrimage with one s Bible. 

I discovered that no one chapter in either Old or New 
Testaments fully considers the important matter of this sea. 
Hence it has meant subsequently a diligent study through the 
Book. I discovered further that the Mediterranean, although 
never referred to by that name by the biblical writers, plays an 
altogether different r61e in the Old Testament than it does in 
the historical events of the New Testament. In the earlier 
age it was, so to speak, a wall of water, a boundary, separating 
Israel from other peoples; in the days of Jesus and his dis 
ciples, and Paul the evangelist, it was a highway over which 
the messengers of the gospel sailed to reach the great centers 
of the Roman world. Israel s boundary in Old Testament 
days was this vast sea. Turning to Joshua, I read : 

" Every place on which the sole of your foot treads I have given 
to you, as I promised Moses; the region from the desert as far 
as the Lebanon yonder, and from the Great River, the river 
Euphrates, as far as the Great Western Sea, all the land of the 
Hittites, shall be your domain." JOSHUA i: 3, 4. (The Bible, 
An American Translation, Smith 8c Goodspeed) . 

And there are other passages in the books of Numbers and 
Deuteronomy which confirm it. 

I was arrested by the words " Great Western Sea/ 5 I real 
ized as never before that this was the largest body of water of 
which the Hebrews had any knowledge and they called it be 
cause of its pre-eminence " Great Sea." But they also had 
other terms to designate it. Frequently, they called it the 

24 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" Hinder Sea " because It was always behind them as they 
faced east, away from their enemies the Philistines. Occa- 
sionally, they referred to it as the u Western " or the " Utter- 
most Sea/ Sometimes they spoke of it as " the Sea of the 
Philistines " since that people dwelling along the western coast 
of what we now call Palestine possessed the large portion of 
its shore. The Hebrews never knew it as " Mediterranean " 
or " Mare Nostrum. 3 

Israel was never at home on the sea; in the Psalms and the 
Prophets, and even so in their history, it remained always dis 
tant and foreign. It was something to gaze upon but not to 
sail. Long ago the Psalmist stood upon a mountain and sang: 

" Yonder is the sea, great and wide." 

It might have been all Israel speaking. Their long, straight 
inhospitable coast line and the lack of ports making it seem a 
barrier, something to fear but not to venture upon, made it 
practically impossible for them to develop a race of mariners 
or leaders in commerce. 

George Adam Smith in Historical Geography of the Holy 
Land writes: " No ports are mentioned in the Old Testa 
ment. When the builders of the second temple hired Phoeni 
cians to bring timber from Lebanon to Joppa, it is not written 
* to the harbor or creek of Joppa, but to the sea of Joppa. 
Of the name or idea of a port, gateway in or out, there is no 


To the Hebrews the eastern Mediterranean was a stiff, 
stormy line of unbroken coast. It had no little isles to tempt 
men in or out, to tempt them from island to island, and then 
to farther continents as the Greeks had. For Israel the sea 
was never intimate or alluring; the coast possessed no number 
less bays to beckon or invite, no sprinkling of isles to tempt 
landsmen to seamanship. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 25 

It was only in the most secondary way that the Mediter 
ranean was used by the Hebrews as a highway for commerce 
and then almost always not for exporting their products of oil 
and wheat to other world centers but for importing materials 
which Israel needed: cedarwood from Lebanon, gold, silver, 
and ivory from Tarshish (Tarsessus in Spain), metal- work 
from Tyre, and beautiful fabrics from Sidon. The relations 
of Israel to the Tyrians as seen in the account of Solomon s 
building and commercial undertakings disclose the fact that 
Israel had not and, indeed, never reached the point where 
she could supply mariners to carry out her commercial enter 
prises at sea. By his alliance with the sea-going Phoenicians, 
Solomon acquired the services of ,a Mediterranean fleet and 
that together with the timber from Lebanon enabled him to 
build and man another fleet at Ezion-geber on the Gulf of 
Akabah, which became Israel s seaport. It is very evident 
that the Hebrews were not sailors. 

This sea plays no important part in the life of Jesus. In 
fact, it is referred to only once in all the four Gospels, and 
then only incidentally. And yet, strangely enough, at no 
time in his life was Jesus more than one hundred miles from 
its shores- He must have looked often upon its waters, near-by 
or at a distance, because the sea can be seen easily from many 
elevated places in Palestine. He must have enjoyed walking 
along its yellow sandy beach as he journeyed into the region 
round about Tyre and Sidon and watching the sea as it rolled 
in along this coast. Many a time Jesus must have stood on 
the western hill, turning his back on sordid, filthy, vitriolic 
Nazareth, and looked west to where the sea came pounding in 
against that long, dark green arm of the Carmel range as it 
reaches out toward the Mediterranean. It was only fifteen 
miles away. From Tabor, from Hermon, he must have seen 
its placid blue waters sparkle as with diamonds in the sunshine 
or watched it change its tranquil mood and beat angrily 

26 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

against the rocks and spend its fury in high waves and thirsty 
white foam. Influenced as he was by the whole world of 
nature, which is reflected in his parables, I was struck by 
the omission of any mention of it in his teachings, especially 
when I remembered that Jesus ministry was accomplished by 
its shores. How strange that living in such close proximity to 
it for more than thirty years Jesus remained silent on the sub 
ject of the " Great Sea." 

In the history of the early Church, the Mediterranean as 
sumes pre-eminent importance. One of the most distin 
guished historians, Harnack, has said ; ** It is hard to imagine 
the Christian faith spreading so rapidly to Rome and beyond, 
if the imperial people had not promoted maritime intercourse 
throughout the empire. Viewed in this respect, the Mediter 
ranean figures as a mighty mixer of peoples and beliefs; for it 
connected the East and the West and promoted the inter 
change both of products and ideas/* 

If in the Old Testament the sea was a boundary or bar 
rier shutting in Israel, in the New Testament it becomes the 
highway over which the gospel was earned to the great cities 
of the Roman Empire. If no desire for wealth or commercial 
supremacy could possibly persuade the Hebrews to venture 
out on its waters, then a passion for proclaiming the glorious 
gospel of Jesus Christ did drive the apostle Paul and others 
out to the uttermost parts of this sea again and again. On 
Paul s first missionary journey, he took ship at Antioch in 
Syria and sailed to Cyprus; at the farthest end of this island 
he took ship again for Attalia in Pamphylia; after preaching 
in some of the chief cities of Asia Minor, he returned to 
Antioch again by ship. On his second journey with Silas and 
Timothy, when he went down to Corinth, he crossed the 
northern end of the Aegean Sea, sailing from Troas; return 
ing, he crossed the southern part of the sea, sailing from 
Cenchrea near Corinth to Ephesus, and then continuing down 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 27 

the coast to the island of Rhodes, and then to Caesarea on 
the coast of Palestine. On Paul s third journey, he followed 
more or less the route he took on his previous one, with the 
exception that on his return journey he went from Rhodes to 
Patara in Lycia and sailed from there to Tyre-Sidon and 
thence down that lovely coast to Caesarea, The record of 
Paul s journey to Rome where he was to be tried before the 
Emperor s tribunal has been recorded so vividly by Luke, his 
travelling companion at that time, in the Book of the Acts. 
The chapter has been called " the most vivid account of a 
voyage and shipwreck in the whole of Greek and Latin litera 
ture/* But more of that voyage later in this book. 

Often as Paul sailed on this same wide sea, when he was 
planting Christian colonies from the borders of Syria as far 
as Spain and to the city of Rome, he had plenty of time on 
his hands to think things through. From the deck of a coast 
ing vessel he could look out upon the sea reaching far and 
wide to the borders of this Mediterranean world, north, east, 
south, and west, restored to public order, peace, and unity 
under the authority of a single power Rome. It must have 
suggested to him a truth in the world not seen by human eyes 
where God in His abundant mercies calls not only " Jews 
but also Gentiles " and makes of one all nations of peoples. 

The example of national unity in the " inhabited world " 
around the Mediterranean Sea must have suggested to him a 
time when all who bear the name of Christ shall live in peace, 
bound together in one great fellowship of love and liberty. 
In that kingdom, stretching from shore to shore, Paul en 
visioned as had Hosea: 

" I will call them my people, which were not my people; and 
her beloved, which was not beloved. 

"And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said 
unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the 
children of the living God." ROMANS 9:25, 26. 


/ visit Marseilles where the Phoceans and Romans hav$ 
ceded me. I walk in the St. Jean quarter > begin ecclesiastical his* 
tory at the Cathedral, find the harbor gay with twinkling lights* 
lively with little boats, and eat ef bouillabaise** High abov$ th$ 
city from her hillside retreat the golden statue of Notr$ Dam$ 
smiles her blessing and bids me ff Godspeed " as I tak$ up th& 
trail again that leads to the Holy Land, 

FOR some days we cruised along the north shore of the 
Mediterranean with its deeply indented harbors, past the 
Spanish peninsula. We stopped to enjoy briefly the unique 
island beauty of Minorca and Majorca from where white 
gulls as a " welcoming committee " fluttered out to greet the 
ship. Early one morning, I saw a new harbor looming in the 
distance. A massive cathedral, high on a hillside, topped 
with a fine gold statue of the Madonna and Child dominated 
our seaward approach. The city kneeling at the Virgin s feet 
looked neat and white. I knew it was Marseilles* 

We swung into the new harbor, crowded already with 
shipping; as we moved into the dock all the sounds of a busy 
port were about us. I looked down on long lines of sheds* 
crowds of porters and officials. How different it all was from 
what the Phoceans saw when they landed here in 600 B* a 

Wanting to colonize, these Greek traders consulted their 
goddess Diana, the same as Artemis of the Epheslans, 
Through priestesses they were told to set sail from their home 
land with the goddess statue aboard and in time they would 
be guided to a suitable landing-place. Bearing the statue of 
Diana conspicuously placed, they set sail A fresh breea* 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 29 

sprang up and it carried the fleet along the Ligurian coast to 
a bay, the site of the present Marseilles. 

Upon arrival, the handsome young Greek chief Protis was 
made ambassador to the chief of the tribes inhabiting this 
new country. Nannus, the local chief, was giving a feast that 
same evening to his young warriors. At this banquet his 
daughter Glyptis was to choose herself a husband from among 
the young gallants. Immediately, Protis was invited by his 
host to be present on this great occasion. When the guests 
were all assembled, the lovely princess entered the banquet- 
hall bearing in her hands the cup she was to present to him 
whom she would choose as a husband. Slowly she passed by 
all the nobles of her race; finally she came to Protis whose 
beauty and polish attracted her. She stopped and presented 
the cup to him. The Greek youth accepted it and that eve 
ning the betrothal of Protis and Glyptis was celebrated. 

Nannus then gave to the young bridegroom a large tract 
of untried land upon which to settle himself and his country 
men. Soon the Phoceans were established on this coast and 
they set themselves to build a town, which in 600 B. c. they 
named Massalia. 

That city was already ancient when in 49 B. c. Caesar 
" came and saw and conquered. 5 Massalia, had unfortu 
nately espoused the cause of Pompey. Immediately, the con 
queror set about to form a new province with its capital at 
Aries in which Greek culture blended with Roman magnifi 
cence. The " Provincia Romana " is not yet forgotten be 
cause its outline has been preserved irx the charming region 
known as Provenge. The area forms a triangle with the Medi 
terranean at its base and Lyons at the apex and is dominated 
by the Rhone River. 

Whether Provence is explored from Nice, Cannes, or Mar 
seilles, some remember Aucassin and Nicolette, Petrarch and 
Laura because this was the land of troubadours and me- 

30 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

dieval romance. But far more remember that in early Chris 
tian centuries it was a center of culture and religion unique 
in Europe. In the Rhone Valley, more particularly at Aries, 
not a few recall those energetic first century Christians who 
with Trophimus preached the " good news " of Jesus Christ 
here so that by the second century Roman Provence held 
many believers; at Aix, others are reminded of King Rn6> 
" Count of Provenge, King of Sicily, Naples, and Jeru 
salem " ; and back again in Marseilles with a wide view of the 
sea and the heavy shipping in the harbor still more recollect 
that for many, many years this city furnished all the galleys 
used by St. Louis and his armies in the eighth Crusade to the 
Holy Land, 

Marseilles is one of the principal ports of southern Europe 
and gateway to French colonial possessions* One is not apt 
to forget this after he has seen the great ships in the harbor 
and the vast amount of cargo for import and export, after he 
has listened to the loud clamor and confusion, and been 
jostled by the cosmopolitan crowds which throng this large 
and important city o France. 


Not far from the new dock was an old suspension bridge, 
until the Nazis came here. It was a good starting place for 
exploring the old harbor section, but nothing remains of it 
now. I remember the tall houses of the town stretched on 
either side. In this neighborhood I found a queer, new 
symphony of sound; the squeaky honks of tiny French horns 
on antiquated rattling taxis, the clang o trolley cars, the 
hoarse shouts of laborers, and the put-put from the engines 
of the darting harbor craft. I walked past one tiny sidewalk 
cafe after another and, after resting at first one and then 
another, discovered them all excellent places from which to 
watch the hum of harbor life. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 31 

Turning north from the quay, I wandered about in a 
labyrinth of narrow, dark streets between tall houses that 
must have been mansions in the eighteenth century- A tu 
multuous life as well as a lively collection of odors crowded 
them. The wrangling fruit and vegetable vendors disturbed 
the daytime dreams of these old mansions on what once was a 
street of fashion. But at night it was a different story. Taxi 
ing back around midnight to the dock through the St. Jean 
quarter of the " Vieux Porte," I heard the whining and whirr 
of mechanical pianos. These disturbed its peace and provided 
melody for sailors furtive love-making. It is history now. 

Coming back through the avenues and boulevards of the 
old part of town, I reached the Place de la Major and the 
Cathedral, which is sometimes known as La Major or Ste. 
Marie Majeure. Designed in the Byzantine style by Leon 
Vaudoyer, it is an impressive building in appearance with 
its alternate courses of green and white stone. It is compara 
tively new as churches go in the Old World. This building 

was begun only in 1852; the work was continued until 1893; 
but it is still unfinished and escaped war damage. 

Imagine, if you can, this striped church with a Gothic 
ground-plan. It is four hundred and sixty feet in length. Its 
huge dome is two hundred feet high. Its interior is impres 
sive, being so richly decorated with marble and mosaics. Its 
crypt is the burial place of the Bishop of Marseilles. 

This French city is a good place to start ecclesiastical his 
tory since it is supposed to have the cell used by Lazarus when 
he visited Marseilles and the cross upon which Andrew the 
apostle of Jesus suffered martyrdom. 

Close by the Cathedral de la Major, on the site of an an 
cient temple to Diana, who was worshipped by the Phoceans 
on this soil, stands perhaps a more interesting old building 
also undamaged by war, Church of St. Victor. Within 
this twelfth-century ProvenQal-Romanesque building beside 

32 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the apse are two chapels dating from the fifteenth centur) 
The Chapel of St. Lazarus on the left aisle contains an alta 
surmounted by statues of Lazarus and his sister Marths 
Church tradition claims that these two, who lived in Bethan 
most of their lives, finally came to Marseilles in the first cen 
tury to preach the " good news." This altar, a reminder o 
these two good friends of Jesus and of their sojourn in Europe 
is the earliest example of Renaissance sculpture in France* 

Ru de Canebiere, which most American tourists pro 
nounce " a can-a-beer," is Marseilles* busiest thoroughfare 
It is lost when it merges into Rue Noailes. By turning left or 
this broad avenue I came directly into tree-shaded Boulevarc 
de Longchamps and saw ahead of me the imposing Palais d< 
Longchamps, built by Esperandieu. 

This monument consists of two wings united by Ionic colon 
nades with a central " chateau d eau " or water tower whidb 
brings the water a long way from Durand to Marseilles, 
There is a simple, beautiful cascade of water in the front of 
the monument, which is also fronted by a colossal group in 
stone. There is always something fascinating about watching 
leaping waters play. The crowds gathered in front of the 
Palais de Longchamps and the backward glance of sight-seers 
testify to the attractiveness of a silvery waterfall 

On the main streets, even in the narrow steep alleys of 
this hill-town, I was impressed by the shellfish stands, the 
" Coquillages." Mussels, clams, crabs, and lobster have an 
appeal when temptingly displayed on beds of cool green sea 
weed, decorated with lemons and odd-shaped shells. On the 
side streets I sought out the fishwives quarters with their 
heaps of rainbow-hued fish. Here can be found aU the in 
gredients for that famous dish " bouillabaise," which only the 
cooks of Marseilles can concoct. Cries of " Ici, Madame, des 
poissons frais/ resounded as I passed through. 

Another feature of the outdoor curb market, peculiar to 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 33 

the " nouveau touriste," is peeled oranges and their skins for 
sale. There is no waste on the Continent; everything has 
value. Frenchmen buy the skins to make liqueur. 

My first French violets came from the curb market. 
Their sweet fragrance lingers yet in my memory. And lilies- 
of-the-valley ! Arrive some May in Marseilles on "lily-of- 
the-valley" day as I did once. You ll never regret it and 
you ll never forget it, 

I am the kind of traveller who enjoys pushing through the 
market places, rubbing elbows with the natives, snooping over 
discarded, second-hand odds and ends literally dumped on 
pushcarts. For that reason I am not likely to forget that 
Marseilles street markets fold up and silently steal away at 
precisely noon, There are individuals to whom the Rag Mar 
ket in Rome, the bazaars in the " Street called Straight " in 
Damascus, and the " Musky " in Cairo hold more allure in 
prospect than the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Taj 
Mahal in India, or the Campanile in Florence. 

Somewhere I have read that coffee caf<s appeared in Eu 
rope first at Marseilles. It is not hard to believe when I re 
member that Marseilles stands as a sort of signpost at what 
in normal times is one of the world s crossroads. Coffee 
houses abound throughout the Near East and why not at this 
place where East meets West and West bids West " adieu " ? 

There are enough inviting places to find refreshment along 
the main street of this cosmopolitan city. The average vis 
itor wonders how the male population finds time to make a 
living since there seems to be .always time for Frenchmen to 
sit at sidewalk tables sipping cool drinks and watching the 
world go by. It is always easy enough to find a boat friend 
here. All one has to do is simply pass up one side of the Rue 
de Canebiere and down the other, giving a good sharp look 
among the occupants of the tiny caf6 tables which occupy 
more than half the spacious sidewalks. 

34 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Thinking about " bouillabaise " took me to dinner near the 
" Vieux Porte " in the late twilight, at the hour when all 
Frenchmen are sipping an aperitif. On the balcony at the 
Restaurant Basso, which was above the noise, dirt, and crowd 
of the quay, I sat in comfort. While enjoying a delicious 
dinner and with moonlight making a path for dreams, I 
looked on the evening spectacle of the whole harbor. With 
a pleasant dinner companion, I enjoyed just that much more 
the scene of this harbor gay with twinkling lights and lively 
with bobbing boats. At another time I went to the Caf< de 
Strasbourg on the Place de la Bourse for excellent food, ex 
cellently served, It was possible here to select a fish from 
among others swimming in a tank. The " gar$on " caught 
one with a net and had it fried for my supper* 

Marseilles is still a small city from whose streets you can 
quickly escape into the country by following the Prado, which 
runs along through a fine botanical garden, past the race 
track, and comes head on into the coast road, Follow the 
Cote d Azure farther east toward Cannes or Nice or Monte 
Carlo or San Remo for miles of breathless beauty, sections 
bathed in Riviera sunshine where mountain beauty is en 
riched by vineyards, glorified by riots of floral beauty, and 
graced by a necklace of colorful beach resorts, for views of lit 
tle islands lifting their sharp outlines in brilliant sunshine from 
a blue, blue sea. 

There is one building which means Marseilles to anyone 
who has ever visited here. The church called Notre Dame de 
la Garde, high above the kneeling city, is an imposing land 
mark from any approach because the golden statue of the 
Virgin holding the Child in her arms atop the church gleams 
by night and glistens dazzlingly by noonday. 

Notre Dame de la Garde is the mariners Lady* Sailing 
away from the French coast or returning home after adven 
tures modern sailors as eagerly watch for a glimpse of her as 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 35 

ancient mariners sought the glint of bronzed Athena s gold- 
tipped spear around the Bay of Phaleron. They never forget 
her and they leave votive offerings at her shrine. 

I took the " ascenseur " or elevator built on the face of the 
cliff and rode up to visit the church. All the way I had 
broader views of the city as it retreated. Nearing the top, I 
looked out over a city of cream-colored houses and red roofs, 
made lovely by patches of vivid green and splashes of purple, 
and beyond harbor confines to where lay a calm blue sea with 
its sprinkling of little islands blanched by a brilliant sun. My 
eyes followed the course of a small motor launch as it skimmed 
over the waves to where the grim Chateau dTf, immortalized 
by Dumas in " The Count of Monte Cristo," is built on rocks. 

The lift came to a stop. I was near enough now to have 
a good view of this huge church. Looking about me, I felt 
this commanding site had been a fortunate choice for a holy 

I was still some distance from the church. I dropped 
down on the terrace steps to watch the people as they came 
here. Many of them stopped to buy white tapers from old 
women whose arms were filled with them. These I knew 
would go immediately to the marble-lined chapel and leave 
their candles among others burning there continuously. One 
group coming up was led by a priest who herded them to 
gether as a shepherd does his sheep. There were a few sailors. 
Perhaps they were coming to leave offerings at the shrine be 
lieving that "Notre Dame" had brought them success or 
saved them from shipwreck in the past months. Perhaps they 
were coming to pray because they would soon be off to un 
known fortunes on the big battleship lying in the harbor. An 
other group mounted the steps. They looked definitely bored. 
This was only another church in a series of churches in Euro 
pean cities just another one on a day s program of organized 
sight-seeing, After rounding up a few laggards, making sure 

36 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

his " party " was together, the guide reciting facts " largest 
built in France since the Middle Ages ... by Esperandieu 
. . . 1864, . . . site formerly occupied by a chapel - . J" 
led the way into the building. Only a very few who came up 
the steps hesitated for a view of the city from the church 

At last I rose and, like all the others, I turned, went up a 
few more steps and disappeared into the Church of Notre 
Dame de la Garde. 

All who come to look around and remain to worship are 
not Catholic. Standing on the terrace another day I watched 
a man come from the darkness of the church unashamedly 
wiping tears from his eyes. His wife remarked to me: ** In 
seventeen years I have never seen Amos cry before*" After 
wards at dinner he told us the story* 

" I was over here in France with the American Expedition 
ary Forces during the World War. When the confusing days 
of the war were over, I came to Marseilles and to this church. 
For the first time in many months I found a sense of peace. 
Today, when I returned after all the years, I was seized with 
a desire to kneel just where I had knelt then and thank God. 
I was more moved than I have ever been before; it was like 
coming home/* 


When sailing out of Marseilles at midnight, it is worth 
while remaining up to watch for the magnificent gilded statue 
of the Virgin holding the Child surmounting this church, I 
have seen unsentimental people stirred by the beauty of the 
gleaming Madonna against a velvet sky. Twice it has seemed 
to me that the gracious Lady has been smiling her blessing 
upon me and bidding me " Godspeed " as I set forth again 
with thoughtful heart toward the land immortalized by her 
son, Jesus. 


/ spend four hours passing Crete where I see the bay which 
sheltered Paul s ship during the voyage which ended in ship 
wreck and remember Titus. I learn the Philistines who settled 
on the west coast of Palestine are descendants of the Sea Kings 
of Crete and a corruption of their name from which we get the 
name fe Palestine " today is the only thing which has come down, 
to us from them. 

WE spent about four hours passing Crete. The island 
rose up high and mountainous in the distance. The 
coast was rugged and inhospitable and looked perilous to sail 
ing boats. On this April day it had snow in its conies. The 
sunlight made patterns in the green and saffron-yellow of the 
lowlands descending to where the Mediterranean s waves 
creamed themselves around the shore. 

From my deck chair, looking over upon this outpost of 
the Aegean islands which was the link in ancient days between 
Europe and the Orient, I began to think of Paul and his 
companions Luke and Aristarchus and how they made a brief 
stop here once. Somewhere among one of these bays, num 
berless little bays which treacherously invite and beckon on its 
southern coast, is Kali Limniones or Fair Havens, the harbor 
which sheltered Paul s ship during the voyage which ended 
finally in shipwreck at Malta. 

I thought back to the fall of 58 A. ix when Julius, the cen 
turion, put his prisoner Paul and the latter s two friends on 
board a ship of Adramyttium at Caesarea. The next day they 
stopped at Sidon where Paul was allowed to go ashore to visit 
friends, A week later after a very rough journey due to the 


38 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ship being exposed to strong westerly winds they reached 
Myra. Paul and the rest were transferred to a wheat ship 
from Alexandria, one of the Egyptian grain fleet bound for 
Italy. I remembered a night I had spent once on this storm- 
tossed sea because of the heavy winds in this easterly part of 
the Mediterranean. It was a terrifying occurrence for all of 
us on shipboard. I realized then something of the dangers 
that first century Christians knew firsthand in little ships ex 
posed to such strong winds. Seeing Crete reminded me. 

The small ship carrying Paul toward Rome was heavy- 
laden and clumsy. The time for the winter storms was near. 
They were all uneasy aboard ship; Paul perhaps the more so 
since he had made at least eight crossings and had already 
been in three shipwrecks. They started out on this ugly sea, 
hugging the shore until finally they were forced out into the 
open. Soon they were glad to take refuge in the Cretan port 
of Fair Havens. The unusual weather continued. Now they 
were forced to make a serious decision. It seemed certain 
death to venture out into the raging storm* There was strong 
feeling in favor of laying up where they were for the winter 
but the captain thought he could creep along the coast to 
Phenice which was a safer harbor although in so doing there 
was some danger of being blown out to sea. 

" When the south wind blew softly," they sailed along close 
to Crete. But the south wind blowing softly was a traitor. 
The Euroclydon swept down from the Cretan hills and seized 
the ship. For fourteen days with neither sun nor stars, with 
a sky that was black as ink, they struggled with this sea be 
cause now they had run out into the open being fearful of 
being cast upon this treacherous rock-bound coast. During 
the struggle, at the time when " all hope that we should be 
saved was taken away," Paul steadied the two hundred 
seventy-six persons aboard and gave them courage. They re 
sponded to his hopefulness. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 39 

Paul is magnificent here as Luke in the Book of the Acts 
reveals his confidence and his brave heart which had been 
strengthened by his consciousness of God s indwelling pres 
ence and God s love for all His children. He had already been 
in three shipwrecks, a day and a night tossed at sea, had faced 
furious crowds, scourgings, and stoning. Now off the shore 
of Crete he seemed faced by certain death by drowning. He 
remained calm in the midst of others intense fear, indecision, 
and excitement. Why? Because he had taken time to refresh 
himself with prayer, to withdraw for a time from the troubles 
of the earth to commune with God on spiritual things. Prayer 
to him, as previously it had in the life of Jesus, meant power, 
victory, peace, and calm. Through his vital experience of 
prayer he was able not only to cheer himself but to comfort 
his terrified companions with: " Be of good cheer, I have as 
surance from God that not one of you shall lose his life." 

I remembered again the night on this same sea when taking 
my Bible I had read the story of the stilling of the tempest on 
Galilee, and of how I was comforted and able to fall peace 
fully asleep while a terrifying storm raged outside. 

Heartened by Paul s hopefulness they began to take food of 
which they had not tasted for fourteen days and to grow more 
calm. After the dawning of hope in their hearts which for 
days had held the black night of despair, there broke the dawn 
over this hitherto darkened, howling Mediterranean world. 
They beached the sinking ship on the island of Malta and 
" they escaped all safe to land/ the crew coming ashore on 
planks. Another crisis in Paul s life was ended. 


This island of Crete at which Paul touched on his last 
eventful voyage to Rome is the place where Titus became the 
first bishop, as similarly Timothy had been appointed to the 
church of Ephesus. Titus was young for a bishop and it 

40 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

would seem that his authority was questioned. It was neces 
sary to write the young man advice and directions. The sub 
stance of what Paul wrote his friend we have in the Letter to 


But there is a longer history than this about Crete* Her 
first kings were rulers of the sea. Some believe she was the 
first naval power in history- At Cnossus under King Minos 
there grew up a powerful kingdom; it held possibly one of the 
most luxurious palaces of the time, having numberless apart 
ments, many terraces, balconies, porticoes, and courts cun 
ningly and invitingly placed. 

The earliest high civilization of the Mediterranean ap 
peared on Crete. This island became from its strategic posi 
tion, which was almost like a breakwater shutting off the 
Mediterranean from the Aegean Sea, a bridge connecting the 
Orient and Europe. The trade routes from the Nile and the 
Euphrates converged here. It became the link between Egypt 
on the south and the lands on the north of the Aegean. 

While the great Pyramids of Egypt were being built* 
Cretans were learning from Egypt the use of the potter s wheel 
and the closed oven, which was to mean beautifully wrought 
vases which were prized in the ancient world. Many fine 
polychrome vases from Crete have been found in tombs ia 
Egypt, while swords and vases of Cretan-make have been ex 
cavated at Gaza. 

By 2000 B. G., Cretans were a highly civilized people. Com 
merce between Crete and Egypt was constant, the latter 
bringing to bear much influence on the northern island in her 
industries of pottery and metalwork. Her galleys carried her 
art and industries far and wide. Under the influence of 
Egypt and the greater speed required by her increased com 
merce picture signs were developed into phonetic writing, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 41 

which was the earliest in the Aegean world. Crete became 
the home of the third great civilization in the ancient world, 
which formed the link between the civilization in the Orient 
and the later progress of man in Greece and western Europe. 

Cretan power waned. In the fifteenth century B. a, she 
became a vassal of Thotmes III, Pharaoh of Egypt. The pal 
ace at Cnossus, erected about the time of Abraham, was de 
stroyed about the same time that Joshua took Jericho, 1400 
B. c. Many refugees fled to what we know as Palestine today, 
settling there and attempting to drive out the Canaanites 
already established in the land. They are not mentioned as 
the Habiru (Hebrews) are in the Tel el Amarna correspond 
ence but in biblical narrative they are mentioned as the 
Cherethim or the Pelethites from Caphtor. Probably these 
refugees entered Canaan about the same time as the Israelites 
were entering it from the desert. They became in time the 
Philistines, which means " immigrant." 

At first they remained a somewhat pastoral people living 
at Gerar. Then they developed their strength and began oc 
cupation of the whole coastal plain at the eastern end of the 
Mediterranean, They gave to this section in time their name, 
calling it Philistia. Gradually, a corruption of this name, 
Philistina, was given to the whole country between the Medi 
terranean and Jordan. It is from the Greek " Palaistine " 
and the Roman " Palaestina " that we get today the name 
Palestine for the country lying between the sea and Jordan. 
We are indebted to the Cretan refugees for this name and it 
remains perhaps the only thing which has come down to us 
from them. 

The Philistines, who inhabited the Promised Land along 
with the Canaanites and the Hebrews, were descendants of 
the Peleset tribe, the last of the Minoans or Sea Kings of 
Crete. Breasted believes that they entered Canaan from 
Egypt rather than being lured there by the attractiveness of 

42 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the eastern shore to establish commercial relations with the 
Canaanites. It is quite likely that they were scattered by an 
invasion of Crete and that they took up their abode farther 
east in the Mediterranean basin. They did finally establish 
themselves in five independent cities on the coast; Gaza, Ash- 
kelon, Ekron, Ashdod, and Gath. 

For many years, like those other invaders from the east, 
they warred with their neighbors, which were shepherd tribes* 
It was a warfare between a primitive and a highly cultured 
invading civilization. Later the Israelites found these Phi 
listines their most difficult foes after the Canaanites had been 
dealt with successfully, according to the Book of Judges. The 
Philistines saw no good reason why they should be ousted 
from their new home by those who felt the land had been 
promised to Abraham and his seed forever- They retained, 
even though well-established in a new country, the arts of their 
Cretan ancestors. This was made evident in the many fine 
buildings and the strong fortifications which they erected and 
in the examples of their skilled goldsmithing. 

All this reminded me I must see Gaza and those new exca 
vations. I hadn t thought a great deal about the origins of 
those ancient people who lived about there. Yes, it was a 
good thing we were sailing past Crete in the daytime; it led to 
dreams and dreams lead to many things 1 

The Cretans had been goldsmiths* Well, so had the 
Philistines. The Bitile records they made six golden mice and 
five golden tumors to be placed within the Ark when they 
returned it with superstitious dread to the Israelites, 

I remembered it had been a Philistine, a descendant of the 
Sea Kings of Crete, who had stood out in an open valley one 
day and defied the gathered armies of Israel How he 
laughed in derision when the shepherd stripling came against 
him with one of those woven woolen slings and a few stones 
gathered from a brook! There was great rejoicing when 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 43 

David slew the giant from Gath, the chief city of the Philis 
tines, that giant clad in a coat of mail and a helmet of brass. 
Here again was an instance of two types of civilization 
clashing for supremacy, a primitive and a highly cultured. 
It came to me quite suddenly that the Philistines were not of 
Semitic origin, but of an entirely different race from that of 
the Hebrews. Might it have been a clash between these two 
for not merely more territory but a struggle for racial su 
premacy? It went on for many years, for hundreds of years in 
fact. The stories begin in the Bible with the time when the 
Philistines captured the country-yokel Samson, brought him to 
their heathen city of culture and exhibited him in the temple 
at Gaza. They go on to the time when Jonathan was slain, 
and despairing Saul killed himself, and David sang his im 
mortal lament: 

" Tell it not in Gath, 

Publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; 

Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice." 

Finally, Philistia was included in Solomon s empire. At the 
time of the Babylonian captivity the old hatred of the Philis 
tines for the Jews flared again. It was somewhat abated when 
the Jews returned to Jerusalem and a few of them married 
Philistine women, but this brought severe condemnation upon 
them from within their own ranks. Even the Bible people 
were race-conscious. 

As I sat in my deck chair leisurely sailing past the inviting 
little island to the leeward, I pondered on these things. No, 
the Philistines and the Hebrews couldn t get along peacefully 
together in Canaan. The Philistines with such a brilliant 
background and civilization to their credit, with their ability 
to wage a modern warfare, to build beautiful buildings, and 
erect strong fortifications, to produce art, despised these primi 
tive mountaineer Judeans, who were forced to borrow from 

44 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

other cultures with whom they came in contact in the fifteenth 
century and for many years thereafter; they despised them 
for their race as well. Likewise the Hebrews despised them 
for their idolatry,, their heathen practices, their culture, and 
were conscious of themselves always as the 1 ** chosen people " 
of Jehovah. Intolerance has reared its ugly head in every 
age; human nature does not change; we have not seemed to 
learn from experience, 

Palestine is torn today by the same passions and fervors 
which tore it in the Bible days. Two peoples still want and 
fight for possession of the land. The Jews say it was promised 
to them as a homeland and they go back in their history to 
prove their right to possession. The Arabs plead their long 
occupation of more than twelve hundred years as giving them 
prior rights to the land. The Jews claim they can bring cul 
ture and the scientific knowledge of the Western world to 
make it a " land flowing in milk and honey ** as the Israelites 
envisioned it. The Arabs declare the West and its methods are 
driving out morality and the things of the spirit, religion, and 
they deplore modern Zionism as a political idea rather than a 
religious ideal. The Jews despise the slowness, the ignorance, 
the ineffectiveness of Arab methods which are essentially 
Eastern, their contentment to continue in the ways of their 
forefathers, and their resignation to fate. As in the Bible days 
when the Philistines from Caphtor and the Hebrews occupied 
the land and fought for its possession, so again Palestine today 
re-echoes with the old strifes of its peoples, 


" Island of the Blessed " was the ancients* characterization* 
Through levelled glasses I had glimpses of this isle s fertility 
which even Homer praised. There were rich fields within 
the deep, wide valleys whose hillsides were covered with vines, 
olive orchards, and fruit trees. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 45 

" One-hundred-citied Crete," the poet sang. The archaeol 
ogists have proven that it was not embellishment but honest 
truth. And now upon this countryside there lay a deep, en 
during peace. 

When Rome was an infant, when Athens was an adolescent, 
before the Phoenicians became a power in Tyre and Sidon, 
before- the Egyptians went to Assyria, while slaves were 
building the Pyramids, Cretans had culture and power in the 
Mediterranean. Fifty centuries of picturesque history in four 


/ enter Egypt through Alexandria* stop to discover some f * first 
things" here* then follow the canal to Cairo. I seek Moses at 
the Nile., and watch a funeral cortege, I tour the Pyramids, 
meet the Sphinx, drink coffee on the desert, and have broiled 
quail for dinner. I am drawn to the Museum to see the gold of 
Tutankhamen and the Tel el Amarna tablets. Cairo is a city of 
contrasts. I visit some of her four hundred mosqm$ 9 go shopping 
in the "Musky" and watch the shifting panorama at tea-time 
from a famous terrace. At Heliopolis* where Moses was in* 
structed by the priests of Ra, there is a solitary obdisk; at Ma* 
taria, where the Holy Family are said to have limd, are a tree, 
a well, and a legend. I see a sunset from the Citadel* 

IT is only sixteen days by steamer from my restless Western 
world to the leisured grandeur of the East, to Egypt! to 
a country of magical charm, ideal in climate, full of interest, 
comfort, and diversion for the Westerner, After one visit no 
one ever wonders again why the Arabic name for Egypt means 
" Fortunate Land." 

After the interlude at sea, travellers approach the dean of 
seaports and the ship drops anchor at Alexandria in the oldest 
harbor in the world. I have entered Egypt both by her sea* 
port and via the route of Abraham over the old caravan trail 
from Canaan across the Sinai Desert through the land of 
Goshen to arrive finally in Cairo late in the evening, when her 
lights are dancing* Frankly both have been thrilling! 

Sailing into the harbor, it has come to me as I have leaned 
over the ship s side and seen on the horizon a hazy flicker of 
sandhills and nodding palms that I am five thousand miles 
from home, New York. But more than that the past has 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 47 

come back to me and I have remembered that the famous 
Castor and Pollux, the Alexandrian grain ship which carried 
Paul and his friends to Italy from Malta, set sail from here 
proudly carrying her cargo in the spring of 59 A. D. 

Approaching nearer, I have seen the Isle of Pharos in the 
bay, the site of where the famous Pharaoh lighthouse was 
built in the third century B. c., and one of the seven wonders 
of the world. It guided Greek and Phoenician ships into this 
harbor. The world s first lighthouse is gone but another car 
ries on* Travellers to Egypt have an opportunity to see rem 
nants of many other " firsts " during their stay, no matter how 
brief or prolonged their visits may be. 

As the liner docks, Egypt swarms upon the decks in native 
costume. It becomes a sort of " Arabian Nights " come alive. 
The neophyte is bewildered by the great amount of color, the 
incessant shouting in the strange Arabic tongue, the pictur 
esque costumes of the natives. The " gulla gulla " man, ex 
pert in Oriental juggling, has held me enthralled . . . inci 
dentally, he has produced a fluffy chick, maybe two chicks, 
from my hand, from my pocket, even from the mouth (his 
mouth), meanwhile calling most anyone, "Mr. McKenzie." 
There are always tumblers on the dock, too, doing all sorts 
of fantastic feats. Oh, my yes ! the arrival of the steamer into 
Alexandria harbor is the curtain call for the carnival to begin 
and it never ends until travellers bid the land of the Pharaohs 
good-bye. But don t forget that this world was the same in 
the days of the Bible. 


In the city of Alexandria, the age of the Ptolemies lives yet 
in the checkerboard pattern of its streets, but in other respects 
it is a Western city and quite modem. Its main business sec 
tion is Mohammed Ali Square, so named for Egypt s first 
viceroy who freed this country from vassalage to Turkey. 

48 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

It is significant to remember amoftg other " firsts " that 
here, during the rise of Hellenism, the Hebrew Scriptures 
were translated for the first time into a foreign language, 
Greek. It was during 275 B, a that the Jews were persuaded 
the great library at Alexandria should contain, a copy of the 
masterpieces of Hebrew literature, the Law and the Prophets, 
The Septuagint version was prepared by seventy workers, so 
legend tells us. This translation served to show a skeptical 
world that the Hebrew literature was as powerful and beauti 
ful a literature as had ever been produced- But more than 
that, at last the Jews living in Diaspora could read the Law 
and the Prophets in a language which was familiar to them 
from their everyday life. 

For Christians, it is significant to remember that tradition 
claims John Mark, St. Mark, proclaimed the gospel here. To 
him belongs the honor of establishing the first organized com 
munity of Christians in Egypt in 44 A. D % This occurred be* 
fore his journey to Cyprus with his uncle Barnabas and before 
he travelled with Peter to Rome where he acted as Peter s in* 
terpreter. He was not the first preacher here because Simon 
Zelotes is believed to have been the first to preach the gospel 
in Egypt. A small, picturesque church in Mohammed AH 
Square is erected supposedly on the site of Mark s first preach 
ing in this ancient city. 

Many people speed directly to Cairo upon landing. In 
stead I have enjoyed lingering here a day or two. The tall 
white buildings, the beautiful gardens and museums, and the 
glimpses of native life along the Mahmoudieh Canal with its 
large cotton barges slowly making their way to the sea have 
interested me. But it also has given me time to become ac 
customed to the tempo of life in Egypt. 


Through the window of the train as it speeds on its way 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 49 

through the Delta, which is spread like a green fan to Cairo, 
which is the jewel of the handle, the countryside is unfolded to 
the gaze. If one is a candid camera fan, anxious to preserve 
for the folks at home moments in this Old World, it is wise to 
buy a second-class ticket so as to take pictures, freely from the 
open windows. Many new sights, " first things," greet the 
eye. They are definitely worth watching out for since they 
are a part of the spell of Egypt. 

The fellah, who has probably changed less with time than 
any character in Egypt, burned almost black by the sun, will 
be tilling his fields along the canal or leading home to mud 
villages strange cattle. I hope every visitor to Egypt is fortu 
nate enough to see this picture from the Bible days when 
Israel dwelt here: a father seated well astern on the rump 
of an ambling, demure, white donkey heading a procession; 
behind him straggle the family goats and sheep; behind them 
his children lead a heavy trio of water-buffaloes; and bringing 
up the rear come his womenfolks in their rusty black gowns, 
the fronts held high in their teeth for greater ease of move 
ment, the long trains dragging dustily through the black 
powder, dirt. 

Canals, fed by the waters of the Nile, follow the train 
route. This region is the luxuriant delta of the Nile River, 
that " ole riber " which rocked the baby Moses, gave the fat 
and lean years to Joseph, the Hebrew overseer in Pharaoh s 
palace, and which earlier protected Abraham when he came 
from Canaan. The canal s embankments carry the traffic; 
behind and below often as much as twenty feet, the flat land 
which can be made to yield three annual crops will be em 
erald-colored with grains. Set in groves of date-palms are the 
interesting, bare, mud-hut villages, which every traveller longs 
to explore but which might prove on close investigation hardly 
inviting. Teeming with life these houses are crowded with 
brown babies, turkeys, chickens, donkeys, camels, water-buf- 

5O Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

f aloes; thousands of blue and white pigeons flutter from the 
roofs; doorways hold old women pounding corn for bread, 

Egypt is held to be the originator of irrigation projects. 
True that the Nile overflows her banks annually, but rain is 
conspicuously absent during the growing season. Early this 
situation had to be remedied to take care of a growing de 
mand for food among Egypt s large and prolific population. 
For me, the " Sakiyeh," dating from 2000 B, o>, which any 
observant traveller can watch in operation along this route, 
is one of the great fascinations of the train journey to Cairo* 
The " Sakiyeh ** is an endless chain of earthen jars on a 
geared sprocket-wheel; the motive power is furnished by 
camels, water-buffaloes, but, more often than not, by trudging 
men who sometimes work eighteen hours a day. It is a 
simple, inexpensive, and effective means of supplying water 
to as many as ten acres* 


Reaching Cairo, another charming sight is tht Nile River 
with the big-bottomed " feluccas " with their multicolored 
prows just waiting, their sails folded; or their graceful sails 
stretched upon the blue velvet sky like butterflies. Boats like 
these have been in use for hundreds of years* It is no stretch 
of the imagination to say that Moses must have gone " feluc- 
can on the Nile." 

The Nile is beautiful at some hours of the day: when the 
sun sparkles on its waters or when the night falls with a sky 
pulsing with heavy stars. It is worth while hiring a boat and 
cleaving through these historic waters to watch in the day* 
time native boats loaded with sacks of wheat and sugar, 
pyramids of Standard Oil cans, crates of fruit, mounds of 
vegetables or to observe the life of swarming Egypt passing in 
review as the fertile banks slide by. But at night it has an 
other side. A golden moon, a desert breeze, and bright star* 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 51 

combine to make it one of the most restful and romantic spots 
in the world, 

" The Nile, forever new and old, 
Among the living and the dead, 
Its mighty, mystic stream has rolled," 

proves the greatest fascination on any visit to Egypt. Travel 
lers may be shown all sorts of historical monuments and 
buildings, told marvelous, thrilling stories of weird unusual 
happenings, excited by the " finds " from tombs, but yet the 
Nile, river of mystery, mother of Egypt, draws them time 
and again to her banks and, while gazing there, to ponder on 
her long, slumbering history. 

The river calls up different things to different people. I 
have overheard visitors recalling that once upon a time the 
ships of Crete and Phoenicia in their days of power sought Its 
commerce and its wealth. I have overheard others telling how 
Cambyses came down the long stretch over the caravan 
route from Persia to overthrow Egyptian power. Others 
mused upon those days when Arab desert wanderers made 
themselves masters of it banks- Others have told the ro 
mantic story of Bonaparte^ conquest of this world. By far the 
largest majority remembered Cleopatra, Egypt s proud and 
laughing queen, who fascinated by turn the calculating Julius 
Caesar and Mark Antony. But there, were those who spoke 
of Moses, remembering that he looked first upon these wide 
waters from a floating cradle and lived beside it for the first 
forty years of his life. 

Every child in Sunday school is thrilled by the story of 
the baby who was found in the bulrushes along the banks of 
the Nile. Upon arrival in Egypt, Sunday-school days are re 
called and one and all inquire WHERE he was born and 
WHERE the lovely princess found him in "an ark of bul 
rushes ... in the flags by the river s brink." I was no ex- 

52 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ception. More than anything else the Nile meant Moses to 
me. So one morning I set out to discover Moses in Egypt. 

I reached the part of the city called " Old Cairo," the 
Fostat quarter, then turned in toward the riverbank and 
drove along some distance. The golden banks of the muddy 
Nile were swarming with natives in soiled white gowns and a 
flotilla of close-massed feluccas with their prows against the 
blue sky were moored along the edge of the water. Moham 
med AH indicated that ** over there ** on green Roda Island 
was the traditional site of the finding of Moses by the Princess 
Hatshepsut when she visited the Nile Delta in 1515 B. G. 
The place where Moses was born? That he didn t know. 
Suddenly, by a shrug, he indicated it made no difference* He 
had little interest in Moses when all Cairo s mosques and the 
bazaars were waiting for " milady/* 

Standing here on the narrow foreshore with men and boys 
singing or calling from boat to boat, with a guide who was 
little interested in a lady s musings, and in a glare of sky and 
water, it was difficult to get the atmosphere of the long, long 
ago or even to recall the hush of Sunday school when the 
teacher talked of a mother, a princess, a sweet baby, and a 
floating cradle. At the edge of the Nile it was more difficult 
to hear the lapping of the water, or the wind as it lightly 
stirred the tops of the bulrushes, or the low cries of an infant 
than it had ever been at Sunday school in America* It was 
more difficult to see the little cradle at the base of the reeds in 
the water at the river s edge or lovely Hatshepsut and her 
maidens as they stepped down to bathe, or waiting, watching 
sifter Miriam, and not too far distant yearning Jochebed than 
it Kad ever been as a child at home, .listening to this Bible 

I turned back and threaded my way into a long desolate 
street, thick with rubbish, lively with odors, with wailing, 
moaning black bundles of dirty rags crouched against a high 

Photographed by Hfifrlft-Lowf II. Patterson 

This is "Old Cairo," the Fostat quarter. Standing on the 
narrow foreshore near-by where a flotilla of close-massed 
Nile feluccas with their prows against the blue sky were 
moored at the water s edge, Mohammed Ali indicated that 
"over there" on green Roda Island was the traditional site 
of the finding of Moses by Pharaoh s daughter. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 53 

white wall Plaintive and pitiful were the cries, disturbing 
was the sight of such abject sorrowing poverty. I walked on 
between the squalling line-up who paid not the slightest at 
tention to me or to Mohammed AH. Suddenly I stopped; 
verses from the Bible were actually coming alive: 

u Call for the mourning women that they may come, let them 
make haste and take up wailing for us, that our eyes may run 
down with tears and our eyelids gush out with waters; wailing 
shall be in all streets and they shall say in all highways, fi Alas, 
alas. Cry and howl. Put on mourning apparel. They rent 
their clothes. Put earth upon the head; and wept and sat 
there." JER, 9: 17, 18; AMOS 5: 16; EZEK. 21: 12; II SAM, 
14: 2; GEN. 44; 13; II SAM. 15: 32; JUDO. 20: 26. 

Standing in the open gateway leading to the old Ben Ezra 
Synagogue where earlier Moses had " spread abroad his hands 
unto the Lord " and the plague of hail had ceased, I waited. 
It wasn t long until the funeral procession came into view. 
The body of a dead Coptic (Egyptian Christian), lying in a 
shallow open coffin, was being carried past me. Except for 
his face wrapped in silk damask, he was covered with flowers 
and beside him were bowls of food to be used in the next 
world. Behind the bier walked the mourners, the women in 
the family, and one or two public wailing women whose pierc 
ing shrieks rent the air at intervals when the family paused 
for strength and breath. Wailing, beating their heads and 
their breasts, tearing their hair, lifting loud their voices in 
public lamentation, they trudged along. It was some such a 
procession as this one that Jesus came upon that day in Nain 
when he raised the widow s only son from his bier. The 
cortege passed on. My disappointment over the place where 
Miriam deposited the ark with its precious bundle in the bul 
rushes was forgotten in the contemplation of a scene from the 
Gospel of Luke. 

54 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


Is there much in Egypt to remind one of the time when 
Israel dwelt there, is a question that I have been asked. Yes, 
the countryside, as you may have gathered from what I have 
already mentioned, bears a similar aspect. In 3000 B. a* Egyp 
tians stood in fields bent above the same kind of hoe or walked 
behind the same kind of plow drawn by an ox and a camel; 
they sowed and reaped fields of wheat, barley, and beans as 
now. Grainfields stretched away to the Libyan Desert 
bounded by thick fringes of palms then as now. The thresh 
ing machine still has rollers to roll over the grain and is drawn 
over the floor by a yoke of oxen till the grain is separated from 
the straw and the straw ground into chaff, as it has through 
all the centuries. Men irrigated furrows with the same me 
chanical devices the " Sakiyeh " and the " Shaduf." Poets 
in the days of the " Oppressor " in Egypt sang of verdant 
meadows and bowers of blooming garlands and still flowers 
flourish here all the year round. Ancestors of these chil 
dren travelled along the canal-banks in the same bright cos 
tumes, holding out scrubby little hands for ** Baksheesh ** and 
looking up with the same smiling black eyes* Then as now 
donkeys ambled along weighted down with produce for mar 
ket and goats nibbled green shoots and tender leaves but 
there were no camels here in Abraham s time* 

Then as now the common people enjoyed garlic, leeks, and 
onions as a regular part of the diet* Nearly two million dol 
lars was spent to supply the workmen who built Cheops with 
these vegetables- The Pyramids stood on their plateau on the 
day that Moses was born in a mud-hut village along the river- 
bank. They looked much as they do now except that since 
then their smooth casing has been stripped off by vandals and 
the stone used to build Cairo, Sheeted in finest white stone, 
immense Cheops looked as if it were made from one solid slab 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 55 

of polished stone to Abraham and Sarah when they visited 
Egypt. That is the only difference between the way the an 
cient world saw them and we see them and the reason why 
today Cheops is a series of stone steps. 


More than once I have motored five miles out along a 
beautiful highway past the Zoological Gardens to the terminus 
at the Pyramids. Hiring camels there I have ascended to the 
plateau for a tour of these monuments. To the measured, 
swaying step of a camel falling and rising like a pitching ship, 
my dragoman has woven for me a tale of Cheops, Chephren, 
and Mycerinus, the three royal tombs of Gizeh, of the in 
scrutable Sphinx, and of the Granite Temple of the Sphinx, 
while I gazed out over a vast expanse of motionless waves of 
golden sand dunes. Mohammed Ali, clad in his striking garb 
of multicolored silks, always tells his tales as only a gabbering 
dragoman can. It is easy here to be transported back to the 
days of the Pharaohs. 

One day having " done " the circuit of the Pyramids on 
camel, although I might have chosen a sand-cart or a donkey, 
and seen their jagged sides glowing in the hot afternoon sun, 
I was tired and as usual slightly overwhelmed by their size. 
As many times as I have seen them, they always have the same 
effect upon me. I stopped for a cool drink in the garden at 
Mena House, which nestles at the base of the Pyramids. I 
dallied over my cooling drink, just waiting for the sunset to 
cast its glow over Cheops, a monument of a civilization that 
existed fifty centuries ago. I shall never forget that adventure 
of seeing the desert aflame with a crimson light, the intensity 
of which I had never seen before. Returning later to my hotel 
in Cairo along the tree-lined Gizeh road, it came to me that I 
was moving from the world of Abraham into the world of 
Henry Ford. 

56 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

I promise that moonlight hours spent at Gizeh are hours 
to be remembered for the whole of one s life because the won 
der of this ancient land stands forth in yet another guise than 
that which it presents by daylight. There is perhaps no more 
romantic place on earth than the Pyramids underneath a full 
moon when the mysterious blue dimness all about them seems 
to shimmer with the ghosts of the ancient dead who lie in 
mausoleums covered by the sands. The charm of the night 
on the desert, underneath a canopy of stars, must be experi 
enced to be believed. No one has ever defined it. Probably 
no one ever will. 

Upon each return to Egypt, I shall want to see the Pyra 
mids first by moonlight. One year I had friends with me, 
newcomers to the land of the Pharaohs, who in the eerie 
night time first met these emblems of eternity. After standing 
in the shadow of Cheops, we wended our whispering way 
along the rapidly cooling desert sands, lighted only by the stars 
and moon, until we came at last to meet that strong, silent 
male, the Sphinx. In the silence of the late evening hour, 
which was broken only by the intermittent barking of troubled 
dogs in far-off Mena Village, we rested near-by the gateway 
to the Granite Temple and looked up into the fixed face of the 
Sphinx as it was outlined by the light of the moon against a 
deep blue sky. Silently, almost stealthily, the children of the 
desert crept round us until we were at last surrounded more 
by soft, gentle voices than by swathed bodies, who scarcely 
seeming to breathe whispered a low "Saida" (Good eve 
ning). As a part of the mystery of the night they seemed to 
have come up from out the sands, As silently and mysteri 
ously as they came upon us, as silently and mysteriously did 
they fade away into obscurity again. Ghosts from the past 
or only the reality of the present breaking in upon us there? 
I wonder every time. They were gone when, with a burst of 
magnesium flares upon the face of the Sphinx, Mohammed 



*5 e 



a -a 



s s 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 57 

All served us tiny cups of syrupy Turkish coffee. In that 
charmed instant Egypt wove its magic spell again. 


To the vast rooms of the Egyptian Museum where the 
golden treasures of five thousand years are kept, I have been 
drawn more than once to see hundreds of statues and busts of 
imperious kings and proud queens with princely heads, 
sensual lips, and haughty brows, who ruled this land so long 
ago and ruled it so magnificently in splendid courts. I have 
searched among them for a glimpse of Queen Hatshepsut, the 
princess who found Moses "in the bulrushes." Her reign 
was marked by great prosperity, so much so that the lofty 
obelisk she erected at Karnak in memory of her father and 
her lovely terraced shrine at Deir el-Bahri survive to this day. 
Most representations of her are in male attire because she car 
ried out her intention of reigning over Egypt as a man. But 
the head of her in the Museum shows her to have been a very 
beautiful woman in spite of her strong-minded ways. 

I have viewed with increasing astonishment what archaeol 
ogists have brought forth from the darkness of tombs to dis 
play here: tomb furniture, priceless art objects of gold and 
alabaster, intricate jewelry and costly, delicate ornaments. 
The treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen gave me the 
best idea of what " the treasures of Egypt " were like in the 
days of Moses, although his early life in Egypt was lived a 
good one hundred and fifty years before this Pharaoh 
ascended the throne. The " Tut " treasures are segregated by 
themselves and defy my description. They must be seen! 
But all of this .illustrates the life and luxury in which these 
nobles lived. 

Tomb paintings from the Old Empire revealed as no read 
ing nor study in school ever had that ancient Egyptians were 
REAL human beings, just ordinary men and women con- 

58 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

cerned with the same basic life problems as we in our day and 
world. They were employed as agriculturists, as cattle-raisers, 
as shipbuilders and carpenters, in white-collar jobs. Women 
had a definite function in ancient daily Egyptian life beyond 
" sex appeal" Hieroglyphics, picture-writing, evolved in the 
Nile Valley, recorded history and everyday life here since the 
dawn of civilization. All this is priceless to the student inter 
ested in reconstructing the past, 

Here at the Museum huge granite gods still sit with hands 
on knees and wait eternally beside sarcophagi, I have been 
lost in admiration for these ancient people who conceived such 
glories and for the artists who executed aU this splendor in 
ages past, 

I stood in awe one morning in the Cairo Museum before a 
collection of inscribed clay tablets under glass. They had 
been found by a native woman of Tel el Amarna on the 
Upper Nile in 1887. Altogether three hundred of them were 
saved. She sold her " find " for fifty much needed pennies ! 
You can imagine the excitement aroused when it was realized 
that here was a buried filing cabinet of the royal capital of 
Akhnaton; these were the letters and despatches sent during 
the years 1380 to 1360 B, a. to Egypt, to the courts of Amen- 
hotep III and his successor Akhnaton- And by whom were 
they sent? That s the most thrilling part to the Bible student. 
Most of them had been written in the Holy Land by kings of 
Canaanite cities mentioned in the Bible and by the very King 
of Jerusalem himself to their overlords in Egypt 

I was not able to read them, of course, since they are in 
scribed in the medium of international correspondence for 
the fourteenth century B, a Babylonian cuneiform script. 
But knowing their interesting story and historical importance, 
I marvelled just the same as these things passed through my 
mind. On some of these clay tablets are found the first men 
tion of the Holy City, Jerusalem, in all the records of the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 59 

past, the first mention of the Hebrew people, and many com 
plaints by the King of Jerusalem that the Hebrews or 
" Habiru " were attacking Palestine, besieging Jerusalem and 
Lachish,- and had captured Shechem. The " Habiru " are 
identified by some with the Hebrews of Joshua s invasion. 
In fairness it should be explained that another school of 
Bible scholars, believing the Hebrews did not leave Egypt until 
two centuries after the Tel el Amarna period, under Raam- 
ses II, reject the Habiru-Hebrew identification and evidence 
that this was Joshua s invasion from the east which is recorded 
on these tablets. More than these things, I was impressed 
with the fact that the Tel el Amarna correspondence paints the 
same picture from the Canaanite point of view which the 
writer of Joshua- Judges paints from the Hebrew point of view. 
Too, the Tel el Amarna tablets have helped Bible scholars to 
fix the date of the conquest of Palestine but more than that 
they illuminate the Hebrew account of that conquest consider 
ably. Imagine such a bargain for fifty cents! New light on 
one of the most obscure yet important periods of Palestinian 
history which opens up a new epoch in the study of Bible his 
tory with Egyptian history. 


One night for dinner at the hotel in Cairo, I was served 
with delicious tiny broiled birds. They looked to me like 
baby robins on the platter. I was informed upon asking what 
they were that these were quail such as Moses fed the Israel 
ites with in the Wilderness of Sinai. Every year, regularly in 
the spring, the quail in vast numbers fly with the wind from 
Cyprus over Gaza and down into the Wadi el Arish. The 
inhabitants of Gaza catch them in nets as they fall wearied 
from their long flight across the sea. But sometimes they 
come down on the ground so thickly that nets are unneces 
sary. They can be caught by hand. The flight lasts one 

6o Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

month. It is all in accordance with the account found in the 
Book of Numbers, Chapter u. It must have happened a 
thousand times before and since Moses that the migrating 
quail has come to rest in the regions of Sinai and the vicinity 
of some sea-bound plain in the Bible lands* 


Travellers arriving in Cairo are thrust immediately into a 
city of contrasts, New World and Old, into a city which is a 
curious, colorful kaleidoscope of East and West* No doubt if 
the average visitors were asked why they come to Pharaoh 
Land, they d reply: "Because of the country s historical 
past." But so few who come to Egypt are Egyptologists, nor 
do they during their brief stays learn much of dynasties and 
Egypt s storied past. After a few days* visit, the average 
tourists know the Pyramids are BIG, the Sphinx is inscrutable, 
the King " Tut ** treasures are marvelous, and hieroglyphs 
are a Nile Valley invention to record by picture-writing his* 
tory since the dawn of civilization, 

It is easy for me to believe that the average tourists come 
and come again to Cairo because they delight in the topsy 
turvydom which prevails in the streets of this Eastern city, the 
contrasts between Islamic and Christian art, native and Euro 
pean, the old, the new, the modern and the old-fashioned, the 
twentieth century and medieval times, all close together. Per 
haps it is best seen in the two sections of this great cosmopoli 
tan city. First, there is the Arab quarter- Here can be seen 
still wooden lattices built out over the narrow, alley-like 
streets. These are the mushrabiyeh d harem windows, the 
balconies of mystery, behind which often sit charming, 
voluptuous Eastern ladies. In the crammed with traffic, 
winding lanes of the bazaars, the colorful turbans and flowing 
robes of the men are in contrast to the black, sombre garb of 
the veiled Moslem women. The magical charm of the Near 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 61 

East is found in these native markets, which are haunted by 
snake charmers, water sellers, story-tellers, fortune-tellers^ and 
lemonade vendors, jangling brass cups. Here can be discov 
ered hundreds of glorious antique mosques and minarets, pur 
est relics of the Arab art to be found anywhere, more perfect 
than those of Damascus, Seville, or India. Then there is the 
modern, Western quarter, which is characterized by wide, fine 
streets lined with beautiful buildings and with little charming 
gardens adorning minute squares. Here the latest fashions 
predominate. But in both sections there is still to be found 
a contrast not only of fashion but of vehicles : luxurious motor 
cars, fast motor-busses, electric street cars, and . . . donkey 
carts. In both it isn t surprising to hear as many as a half 
dozen languages spoken in the short space of five or ten 


It is almost absurd to attempt anything approaching a list 
of mosques of great historical and architectural interest to be 
seen in Cairo because there are something like four hundred 
of them* Simply walking at random through the dilapidated 
streets of " Old Cairo," it is easy to discover unaided some of 
its many beauties. The shortest walk through winding alleys 
lighted by thin streaks of sunlight will bring within sight at 
least one of these graceful, domed buildings. It may be the 
muezzins mystical calls to prayer from high in their minarets 
will lure travellers to some portals. For others the helpful 
green and white enameled plaques on a gateway will assure 
that some interiors are interesting. The mosques are a treas 
ury of Islamic architecture, a revelation of Arabic art and 

Cairo s " Blue Mosque " is lovely. It is one of the authentic 
antiques, having been erected in 1347. It is so named " Blue 
Mosque" because of the peculiar beauty of the blue tiles 

62 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

adorning its walls, which are set into the panels, showing be 
tween vaulted colonnades. 

The towering minarets, if not the fine bronze gateway, of 
El Muayyad attract many visitors. In Cairo this story is told 
concerning this mosque* Before El Muayyad s accession to 
the throne, he was imprisoned by his rival While awaiting 
developments, he determined to change his prison into a 
beautiful mosque if, by the will and goodness of Allah, he 
found himself once again a free man. This lovely building, 
the Mosque of El Muayyad, testifies to the realization of his 
hope and the ultimate carrying out of his plan. It is a gem 
of art. 

There is another splendid mosque, the Mosque of Sultan 
Hassan, which is directly across the narrow street from the en 
trance to another impressive building, the Mosque of El Rifai. 
Sultan Hassan is of all examples of Islamic architecture to be 
found in this great city probably the most universally ad 
mired. Its superb proportions tend to remove the impression 
of its immense size. Built in the fourteenth century, it was 
constructed in the shape of the cross. In each arm of the 
cross hang down unevenly many lamp chains* The funda 
mental idea in mosque construction is an open court sur 
rounded by a covered cloister. The main variation of design 
consists of converting the four cloistered sides into four deep 
transepts. This results in a cruciform interior like Sultan 
Hassan possesses. Very often Christian architects were em 
ployed in mosque building and, no doubt, it was they who in 
troduced the variant. 

There is an atmosphere of quiet worship in Sultan Hassan* 
Silent figures, seated cross-legged on the matting floor, slipper- 
less worshippers who have previously performed ablutions at 
the canopied fountain, the " faithful " preserve the atmos 
phere of quiet recollection that always seems an integral part 
of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 63 

El Rifai, which is misnamed by dragomen " Coronation 
Mosque/ is designed in the purest Arab style even though it 
is a modern building completed during the twentieth century. 
It is here that King Fuad lies buried. It was to this mosque 
that young Farouk hurried immediately upon becoming king 
of Egypt upon the death of his father. 

The peace and sanctity of a mosque are seldom disturbed by 
" Baksheesh " hunters and souvenir vendors beyond the door 
way where they accumulate in varying numbers and add 
greatly to the confusion caused by slippers being tied on over 
European shoes. But El Rifai is the exception. I have been 
pursued around this lovely building and been annoyed by an 
Egyptian with souvenirs of alabaster, paper weights in the 
form of pyramids and obelisks. 

Among the oldest of the Gairene mosques is Abuna Ibn 
Tfilfin, 879 A. D. This splendid historical building has not 
been touched by rebuilding or restoration. It remains with its 
unique spiral minaret in the shape of a ram s horn a curiosity 
of architecture. Its immense size and the majesty of its clois 
ters and arches are what linger long in memory. Its silent 
courtyard is a haven of rest after hours of busy native streets 
and exhaustive sight-seeing. Impressive by day, it is majesty 
itself by night when seen under the magic of Egyptian moon 

These graceful mosques of Cairo are a delight to see, a joy 
to remember; their beauty cannot fail to excite the admiration 
and curiosity of all who visit them; their atmosphere of peace 
and selfless devotion is beautiful to feel. They leave an im 
pression of Islamic Egypt that time cannot erase, especially 
if the traveller bids farewell to Cairo from the Citadel where, 
towering above him with the city below, stand the dome and 
the slender minarets of Mohammed Ali Mosque, sometimes 
called " The Alabaster Mosque," silhouetted against a cloud 
less blue sky. 

64 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


" Eastern cities miles apart 
Are with mosque and minaret 
Among sandy gardens set; 
And the rich goods from near and far 
Hang for sale in the bazaar." 

The " Musky/ 5 that s the magic sounding word in Cairo, 
a vast, happy hunting ground for shrewd shoppers. Here 
amid streets with names reminiscent of medieval corporations 
Street of the Goldsmiths, of the Perfume-sellers, of the 
Brass-workers may often be found the bargain " bought for 
a song." 

As of yore caravans bring their treasures to these narrow, 
shady, winding streets: brass, Tunisian and Persian rugs, sil 
ver and gold ornaments, leather cushions, and silks, all are 
on display and for sale sometimes at ridiculously low prices. 

What does one see? 

In the native quarter either side of the street is lined with 
open shops and stalls. In some places they are covered over 
with brilliant striped awnings. Dresses, carpets, walking 
sticks, clocks, hats, sweets, cakes, bread, and meat are hung 
up in multicolored array to tempt shoppers pushing through 
the narrow lanes. In peaceful corners, I have come upon na 
tives huddled together, just sitting. Elsewhere sidewalks and 
lanes have been crowded with shoppers and natives pushing 
their way in either direction. I couldn t help brushing against 
heaps of silken gowns and scarves, shawls, and cotton piece 
goods. Neither could I help brushing against the natives here, 
where riches and costly brocades are displayed before the eyes 
of many who have nothing in the world to call their own but 
dirt and rags. Riches and poverty meet as fellows here. 

Farther up the street are the jeweler shops. The windows 
bulge with precious stones, fascinating bracelets, intricate 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 65 

necklaces, silver ankle rings, earrings, and bangles. There are 
more of these in Cairo than in any city of equal size in the 
world. Why? Because native women have one pleasure, the 
diversion of wearing jewelry. It is not uncommon to find an 
Eastern heiress carrying her entire fortune displayed in 
anklets, bracelets, and rich festoons strung from her neck and 

Most of the business is transacted in the streets, instead of 
within the shops, by voluble negotiations. There is no pri 
vacy in the Near East. It has been with sounding of brass, 
and shouting of wares, the cries of a lemonade vendor, the 
far-away call of a muezzin to prayer, and the noise of creaking 
wooden wagons that I have made my way through the art 
and perplexity of this Oriental maze. 

Sometimes the air is full of incense wafted from the 
Scent Bazaar. Intrigued by pungent odors, heavy perfumes, 
I reveled in the tiny shops, more like cupboards, whose 
shelves hold bottles of almost every describable essence of 
heavy perfume. When I have purchased, it was measured by 
the gram, put into a tiny flask. Every tiny drop has been dis 
tilled from thousands of flowers or extracted from sandalwood 
or amber. But if I did not purchase, the shopkeepers have 
put a dab on the back of my hand. Either way I carried back 
to my hotel the scent from the Scent Bazaar. 

Following my nose again I have come to the Spice Bazaar 
where fragrant, tantalizing-smelling spices in a stone mortar 
were in the process of grinding. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg 
with thoughts of far-away lands have been my own simply for 
the bargaining! 

Going on to the Khan Khalil, the real bazaar world of 
Cairo, one walks through narrow lanes, entranced by the 
shining, almost glittering array of brass and copper wares 
. . . brass vases, copper trays, cigarette boxes, inlaid jewelry 
boxes, coffeepots, silver salvers, and brasses inlaid intricately 

66 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

with copper and silver. Inside doorways in dimly lit interiors 
the native workmen, master-craftsmen, have been busy carv 
ing the unique designs on trays and bowls. Never since have 
I taken a bit of brass goods lightly and matter-of-course. This 
class of merchandise is real Egyptian. In buying the prices 
will vary according to quality and cleverness of design. How 
ever, I discovered that my friends at home who were not 
connoisseurs were as happy with the rough, well-cut, deep 
designs, which are the less expensive variety. 

Travellers should never be surprised if any of the indolent- 
appearing, happy shopkeepers invite them for a cup of tea, 
a drop of Turkish coffee, a drink of lemonade, or for cig 
arettes. It is a charming, disarming gesture of the East. One 
never refuses. If slightly ill at ease, the host will regale with 
stories. Business in the East has been carried on in this non 
chalant fashion for five thousand years. It provides a splen 
did opportunity for visitors to observe a custom that has with 
passing centuries become a fine art. 

These are the Arab bazaars of Cairo with their fascinating 
merchandise, their clever, ingenious merchants, whose streets 
teem with Oriental pageantry ... an inexhaustible source 
of amusement and delight for any tourists. Here one is sure 
to find the East with its mystery, its color, its queer scents and 
smells, and its everlasting charm. The time spent in the 
" Musky " in early morning coolness passes quickly. It is 
then that the merchants have taken down their shutters and 
are chattering away their time as they lounge outside door 
ways waiting until the first customers arrive* I have spent as 
long as I liked then handling lovely embroideries, admiring 
jewelry and brassware, or choosing a piece of leather goods, 
even searching for something unusual to buy. 

But whether travellers want to purchase or not, the 
" Musky " is worth a visit. Perhaps it is the one place in 
Cairo of which people always speak with pleasure and amuse- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 67 

ment of their experiences and of the " bargains " they 
achieved. Emerging from the bazaars with my bargains: 
leather goods, some " Dearest " beads, a bit of brass, a fly- 
whisk, another box, and a piece of Egyptian tent- work, I have 
always been in exactly the same frame of mind as that old 
and shrewd Oriental shopper characterized in the Book of 
Proverbs : 

" It is naught, it is naught, but when he goeth his way, then he 
boasteth." PROVERBS 20: 14. 


Only a short walk from the romantic regions which have 
not changed greatly since the time of the Caliphs is another 
Cairo, where emphasis is placed upon luxuries and the super 
ficial modernities of European life. Modern Cairo is fascinat 
ing, but it lacks, however, the romance of " Old Cairo." Its 
life is varied, too. I promise that travellers will have moments 
here to be stored away in memory, to be recalled with pleas 
ure in remembrance; moments not to be lightly ignored by 
anyone, even if he is interested primarily in the antiquities of 
Egypt. Here he will rest briefly from the mad rush of organ 
ized sight-seeing. 

Tea on either Shepheard s or The Continental-Savoy s ter 
races is a red-letter occasion in any traveller s life, presenting 
as it does opportunity for fascinating and amazing glimpses 
into the variety of this crowded city s life. Just as all the 
world is supposed to pass Forty-second and Broadway, or to 
go through Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, so it seems all the world 
journeys by Shepheard s or Continental-Savoy in a single 

Let me tell you what to expect at tea-time at either of these 
famous hotels. The dragomen, resplendently robed in silks, 
satins, and brocades, will hover on the pavement below await- 

68 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ing clients. The vendors like a flock of lively sparrows, with a 
supply of beads, fly- whisks, walking-sticks, imitation scarabs, 
and gaudy-colored postcards will be waiting there, offering 
their wares in soft, persuasive voices. There will be vendors 
of licjuorice water hovering near-by. Paper boys, bare 
legged and barefoot, will tear past loudly screaming. The 
plaintive cry, " Baksheesh " or " Lottery ticket," will linger on 
the air. Egyptian students in European suits, wearing crim 
son tarbooshes cocked at a jaunty angle, will stroll past and 
cast eyes upon the terraces. Provincial notables, stalwart and 
faithful to old dignified fashions, in robes of rich stuffs, silks 
of blue and purple, with shawls draped artistically about their 
shoulders, will pass nonchalantly by or mount the terrace 

A string of camels will pad along the streets like haughty 
dowagers. The ladies of the harem, their luminous eyes 
glancing interestedly this way and that above the filmy veils 
of Islam, in luxurious gleaming motor cars ride smoothly by 
on the asphalt pavement. In the midst of all this variety will 
be found the usually calm British Tommy, Jews, Persians, 
Turks, Indians, Irakies, Hejazis, and attractive Americans, 
each of them with characteristic features and distinctive attire 
. . . tourists from all the nations of the world. Big, brown 
birds measuring five feet from wing-tip to wing-tip, who have 
scavenged the streets of Cairo for centuries, keep watch as 
they fly whistling from roof to roof. This is the shifting pano 
rama of East and West, riches and poverty, twentieth century 
and centuries before the Christian era, which I have watched 
pass by either hotel s terrace as I have languidly sipped my 
tea. It is always the same* 


Heliopolis is no longer the University section of lower Egypt 
as it was during the time of Moses, Today it is a smart sub- 

Around the Mediterranean With My &ibte 69 

urb of Cairo with beautiful houses, gardens, and hotels. It 
has a fine race track and an airport. I rode out there on one 
of the electric trains which runs frequently the six miles be 
tween it and Cairo. I wanted to see the land where Abra 
ham, Jacob, and Joseph had dwelt, Moses had lived as a 
student and a royal favorite, and where Joseph, Mary, and 
the Babe had been fugitives from Palestine. 

" Stephen testifying before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem in the 
first century regarding Moses said that he was " learned in all 
the wisdom of the Egyptians." It is likely that Moses ac 
quired that learning at Heliopolis. 

Nothing remains of the site of ancient Heliopolis, the City 
of the Sun, or the once mighty City of On, or Beth-shemesh as 
it was called by the Hebrews, but a single beautiful obelisk of 
red granite rising in a sugar-cane field. It is the last of many 
that stood in front of the immense and magnificent Temple of 
the Sun when Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of Poti- 
pherah a priest of On, when Moses was laying the founda 
tions of his learning, and were still here later when Plato was 
a student But in course of time vandals from Europe robbed 
the place, destroying its beauty. One of the obelisks is in the 
Piazza del Popolo in Rome; two others more familiarly known 
as " Cleopatra s Needles " are in New York City s Central 
Park and in London. 

I stood before the solitary obelisk, which is an expression 
of an old religious faith as well as a memorial of the oldest 
seat of learning in the world, the forerunner of all the schools 
of Europe, and read from a piece of paper the translation of 

the inscription found thereon. 

" The Horus of the Sun, The life of those who are born. 
The King of the Upper and Lower land, Kheper-ka-Ra : 
The Lord of the Double Crown, The life for those who 

are born. 
The Sun of the Sun-god, Ra, Usertsen; 

70 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

The friend of the Spirits of On, ever-living: The 

Golden Horus, 

The life for those who are born, The gracious god, 
Kheper~ka~Ra, has executed this work 
At the beginning of a thirty years cycle, 
He, the dispenser of life for evermore/* 

Surely Moses read that many times when he came here to be 
instructed by the priests of Ra. And is it too much to believe 
that this obelisk cast its shadow on Mother and Child when 
they went by the then almost deserted seat of learning? 

When the curious ask where the Holy Family stayed in 
Egypt there is a perplexing choice of locations, because many 
improbable places have been claimed by devout monks who 
wrote centuries after the event. The oldest and most likely 
tradition is that the Holy Family stayed at a place now called 
Mataria, which is near the site of ancient Heliopolis* 

The writer of the Gospel of Matthew is the only one of the 
evangelists who mentions the flight of the Holy Family into 
Egypt to escape the cruel decree of Herod and then only 
briefly and reservedly. In the Apocryphal Gospels are fuller 
and more detailed accounts but they have little historical 
value. Matthew simply tells us that Jesus was taken out of 
Palestine by Joseph and his mother Mary in infancy and that 
he remained in Egypt until Herod s son, Archelaus, came to 
the throne in Judea. On their return journey Joseph ** turned 
aside into the parts of Galilee,** being afraid to venture into 
the territory of Archelaus. 

I went to Mataria where in a garden a sprawling, ancient 
sycamore tree and a well are pointed out and associated with 
the visit of the Holy Family, Tradition says that for a time 
Mary and the Babe rested beneath this tree, which is hence 
known as the " Virgin s Tree," It is very old, certainly not 
two thousand years old, but two or three hundred years old at 
any rate, perhaps a descendant of the original, as the present 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 71 

trees in Gethsemane are of the olive trees which were not 
" blind to Him." It stands within a round enclosure in a 
garden where there are growing shrubs, tall palms leaning 
down, and flowers blooming just as flowers must have 
bloomed all about the child Jesus when he was in Egypt. 
Much of the old tree is a mass of gnarled, dead branches from 
which hang and flutter colored rags tied there by sick folks 
who come here hoping to cure their ailments by the grace of 
this tree. 

Near-by is a well, which, it is said, became sweet because 
the Babe was bathed there. From the spots where drops of 
water fell from his clothes, after they had been washed in 
water drawn from there, sprang up a crop of balsam trees. 
These grew for many hundreds of years thereafter and were 
made into a fine oil much used and prized for use in baptisms. 

I thought that Heliopolis perhaps suggests better than any 
other place the true progress of the human race. There 
once stood here the oldest link in the chain of schools of 
learning. Conquerors and vandals destroyed the Temple of 
the Sun; the ancient On where lived the ancient wise men is 
g 0ne the Nile has deposited mud here and the peasants have 
ploughed across the site. When Mary and the Child rested in 
Egypt, the government was in the hands of the Romans. 
Nearly two thousand years later the government was under 
the supervision of Great Britain, whose civilization has been 
created upon and inspired by the teachings of this same Jesus. 
Looking back through the ages, measuring the gain in knowl 
edge that has been won by patient scholars, I realized the 
deathlessness of wisdom. Where the lamp of learning had 
been lighted first, other lamps were lit. And where in turn 
these have shed their light, still others have been lighted until, 
ever-renewing her youth, immortal Wisdom leads onward to 
the pure flame, Truth. 

72 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


There is one place I have liked to visit just before leav 
ing Cairo. Hiring a horse-drawn open carriage, I have clip- 
clopped out to the Citadel. Coming up Sharia Mohammed 
Ali and long before I reached it, I have seen the Citadel on its 
splendid plateau under the grim Mukattim Hills, and the two 
tall, tapering minarets of the Mohammed Ali Mosque pierc 
ing the blue sky. It shelters within its walls Saladin s fortress, 
a palace so large as to be almost a town, and two mosques. 
Leaving my carriage at the top of the hill, I have entered 
through the massive, magnificent Saracenic gateway in the 
colossal walls which ring this huge fortress. It was planned in 
1 1 66 A. D. to protect Cairo from assault. Today it garrisons 
Egyptian troops. Slowly I have climbed up into the inner 
regions, searching for a grilled window, facing west. In the 
late afternoon, about sunset, the beauty of the view from here 
is almost heart-breaking. 

Below and beyond the huge walls lies stretched a vast city, 
a wilderness of flat roofs and minarets. It holds the City of 
the Dead and the Tombs of the Mamelukes. Easily, I have 
distinguished the Arab quarter by the rising minarets and the 
round domes, literally hundreds of them, everywhere break 
ing the monotony of flat, brown roofs. It has seemed almost 
like a background to a romantic theatre-piece come true. 
Beyond, cosmopolitan Cairo drifts down to tufted palm trees 
which fringe the Nile, winding like a silvery snake through 
the golden sands of the desert on its way to the sea. Looking 
hard at the flat, remote Gizeh Plain, I have made out the 
grim outlines of three pyramids. Waiting, I ve watched the 
sun sink behind the Pyramids and purple twilight, pin- 
pricked by golden stars, come softly over Egypt. 


Describes my journey from the land of Goshen to the edge of 
Sinai and up to Jerusalem. Here three great religions come to- 
gether, each worshipping, each dreaming, each guarding as 
sacred her treasures. The Holy City on her proud hills is sacred 
to Christian, Jew, and Moslem. Entering Jaffa Gate, I visit the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Calvary), the Dome of the Rock 
on what once was the Temple area, and the Wailing Wall. 

GOSHEN S few mud sun-baked huts faded. Our train 
plunged on across a flat, barren landscape except for 
fertile portions directly along one of the Nile s many canals. 
We arrived at Kantara. It was a moonlight night. I was 
glad of that because of the novelty of the experience of a ferry 
trip across the Suez Canal to El Kantara on the Palestine side 
where my train for Judea was already waiting. I found it an 
interesting adventure. I mingled with other tourists like my 
self from England, France, and even far Norway, Bedouin 
and City-Arabs, " Tommies " on leave. It seemed that a cross 
section of all types of people were represented on the ferry 
that night* For once in this world catering to first, second, 
third class distinctions, these were forgotten. I had an Eng 
lishman, a Lord Somebody or Other, on the seat beside me. 
He had mountains of luggage, a distinguished manner of or 
dering people about, and a marvelous pair of moustaches. An 
Egyptian with his crate of chickens balanced on his head 
towered over me. 

There is a memorable pause of waiting two hours at East 
Kantara. I spent the precious time not inside any stuffy, 
dim-lit train compartment but outside at the far end of the 
station s platform which was bordered by acacia. Its fuzzy 


74 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

yellow pellets gleamed in the moonlight* It was hard to be 
lieve that already my " magic carpet " had brought me to the 
very edge of the land of my dreams. Palestine had lived so 
long for me only in imagination. 

In the East the night seems audible with angel voices. 
Only infrequently is there an intrusion of the present world. 
At Kantara, it broke through with the distant intermittent 
bark of a lonesome dog, the grumblings of a resting camel, 
and the incoherent mumblings of the "stranger within the 
gates." I listened to the night sounds enveloping me. Above 
them all I felt that I could hear the angel choir again and 
share the comfort of those words sung centuries ago: 

" Glory to God in the highest, 
And on earth, peace among men of good will." 

In the penetrating silences I was compelled again and again 
to look upward into the moonlit, star-burdened sky. Many 
times in the Near East I have been overwhelmed by the mag 
nificence and splendor of the heavens, but this particular 
night, standing alone on the edge of Sinai, I felt stirrings of 
an extreme exaltation of spirit. It was greater by far than 
any I had ever experienced in the finest cathedrals at home. 
That night and many nights thereafter while out-of-doors in 
Palestine and Syria I was to respond to this calling of " Him 
who is invisible " and understand the meaning of the Proph 
et s words : u The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth 
keep silence before him," for "the earth is the Lord s, and 
the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." 

All too soon the hours of waiting were over. It was time to 
hunt my compartment. The train went off into the night, 


I stirred in my berth before sunrise. From the train win 
dow the sky was clear but still quite grey. It took me only a 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 75 

few moments to make myself presentable for the corridor. I 
hoped to see Gaza on the very fringe of the Sinai Desert 
which we had crossed in the less than five hours since mid 
night, but we were still too far away. I could see nothing but 
sand. The patriarchs coming up over the old caravan route 
from Egypt must have known this moment: the grey light, 
the last star, the cold wind, and the sudden hush preceding 
day. Gaza was still far off, but I could see in the east, where I 
knew it to be, the first movement of dawn. Waiting alone in 
the corridor (no one else had cared enough to get up), I 
thought of the strange roads I was about to travel, of cities I 
hoped to visit, of mountains I was to climb, and valleys 
through which I was to walk. I whispered the names of these 
places: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tyre and Sidon, 
Mount Garmel, Mount Hermon, Olivet, Tabor, Damascus, 
Jericho, Jordan River, the Gh6r Valley, Esdraelon, and the 
Sea of Galilee. They were not mere names, mere towns, vil 
lages, or sheets of water. Almost endless seemed the echoes 
aroused by such whispered names; they were like stones 
dropped into a pool starting ripples that prolong themselves 

The light grew in the east as the sun struggled with the 
night clouds. Suddenly with only a short preamble of bright 
ness, a faint pink shaft shot up and then the sun came into the 
sky. In that moment I saw, far off, a fringe of palm trees 
around a group of white buildings. I knew I was looking at 
Gaza, once the capital of the Philistines and the scene of Sam 
son s exploits. 

As we rushed on splashes of ancient color seen in mud huts, 
black hair tents, and Moslem sanctuaries began to break the 
monotony of the landscape. There was all at once movement 
in the camps of the Bedouin as women began doing their 
chores. One carried a tray on her head. Long robed figures 
moved among sleek black goats leading them forth for a day s 

76 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

grazing. I thought of Joseph, Mary, and the Child when 
they fled from Herod s wrath as I saw a family on the move 
from one location to another more habitable one, walking be 
hind laden donkeys. There had been one unburdened donkey 
in this m6nage and so the householder himself rode In comfort 
upon his back while the householder s womenfolk trailed be 
hind. They balanced huge bundles on their heads and car 
ried hammocked babies on their backs and managed to 
maintain in spite of it all a stately carriage, This sight spoke 
louder than words to indicate woman s inferior position in 
this Eastern world* Bells began to ring sweetly as camels 
wended their way out of this undulating sea of sand. 

Speeding through the country of the Philistines, past once 
powerful cities now reduced to mere villages or crumbled 
ruins, I soon noticed the khaki sand gradually withdrawing, 
giving way to patches of green grass, and finally being swal 
lowed up completely by the growth of the dark green orange 
plantations. I noticed large greyish-white boulders in flower- 
dotted fields. All at once these stones stirred slightly, changed 
shape, and moved off. I realized that these were not boulders 
but huddled men who had spent the chilly night like some 
Jacob at Bethel. 

Surely the train journey from Egypt to Palestine is the 
proper approach to the land of the patriarchs and prophets 
because only then can the traveller understand to any ap 
preciable extent why Israel thought of the Promised Land as 
a paradise, as " a good land, a land of brooks of water, oi 
fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a 
land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pome 
granates; a land of olive-trees and honey." From any other 
approach Palestine, and especially Judea, seems dour, grim, 
and forbidding; but from the old caravan route, teeming with 
biblical interest, it looks green and lovely. 

Coming into Lydda with its miles and miles of sweet- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 77 

scented blossoming orange trees, which hang their golden 
globes against a cobalt sky, I saw fields of brilliant red anem 
ones, beautiful clusters of yellow acacia, I heard the gay notes 
of birds. And I wasn t as surprised as I might have been if I 
had not been prepared for all this springtime splendor by a 
poem in my guidebook. 

" For, lo, the winter is past; 
The rain is over and gone; 
The flowers appear on the earth; 
The time of the singing of birds is come, 
And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land." 

(American Standard Version) 

Through the mountains of Judea from Lydda to Jerusalem 
and not so far from little cypress-clad Ain Karem snuggled on 
a hillside, a haven of peace as her white houses peek through 
watching trees which guard her sanctity, I saw hills rolling 
away into the distance, covered with a soft carpet of wild 
flowers, all colors, reds, blues, yellows, and even purples. 
They mingle so indiscriminately and blend so beautifully 
when Nature plants in her inimitable way. Those purple 
blossoms . . . what could they be that the Arab children are 
hugging in their bosoms just waiting for an opportunity to 
throw into open train windows? They are cyclamen blos 

In the distance I could see dazzling white crags and roads 
that looked like white ribbons slipping in and out and around 
these Judean hills. Against the horizon I saw a shepherd lad 
with his flock of sheep and black goats. I thought of the 
Bible story of the shepherd lad David and the giant Goliath of 
Gath because it was among these hills that the encounter took 
place. Later in Bethlehem, I bought a woven sling just like 
the one which David used to slay the giant. Once I saw a 

78 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

patriarch leaning on his staff to watch the train go by. For 
all the world he reminded me of Abraham since fashion never 
changes among the Bedouin of the Bible lands. 

The train made the ascent slowly through these hills of 
stone, enlivened only by small patches of green, brief and bril 
liant wild flowers, and an occasional round olive tree. It was 
not the lush green landscape of the Maritime Plain here. I 
understood now why so many travellers have considered them 
bleak, savage, ugly, and thoroughly grey. I remembered 
that this awesome mother Judea had nurtured Isaiah and 
Jeremiah, had encouraged no armchair philosophers nor 
weaklings among her children- Today her children rebel 
against her severity and sometimes they are able to snatch 
from her grim hillsides the peach, plum, grape, and olive rich 
in oil, turning parts of it into a green paradise, 

UP, UP, we climbed; PUFF, PUFF, snorted the engine, 
each time as if to gather strength and courage for another at 
tack on these hills. I said to myself again and again as I rode 
that bright sunshiny morning with my body half out the open 
train window: "As the mountains are round about Jeru 
salem, so the Lord is round about his people*" The beautiful 
words of the Psalmist had a meaning before unknown to me. 
These hills of beauty were a spiritual preparation for our en 
trance, one hour late, into " the city set upon a hill." 


Perhaps no spot on earth appeals so powerfully to intellect, 
emotion, or imagination as this Holy City, Jerusalem, the city 
of Abraham, David, Solomon, Jesus, Titus, Tancred, and Al- 
lenby. It is certain that no equal area has been the theatre of 
events which have so influenced the history of mankind. It is 
with an almost overwhelming rush that religious memories 
sweep over the pilgrim, be he Christian, Moslem, or Jewish. 
These surging religious memories blot out completely the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 79 

hurry and confusion,, the bustle and the shouting of an Ori 
ental railroad station; they possess the very heart. 

It merits the name " city upon a hill " because its altitude 
is two thousand five hundred and fifty feet above sea level. 
It is built upon a natural bluff whose three sides look down 
at ravines. At its west, south, and east are the Hinnom and 
the Kidron valleys. What would it have meant to this city 
had there been a fourth valley? The list of peoples who have 
at one time or another besieged and captured this hill reads 
almost like a catalogue of nations: Egyptians, Babylonians, 
Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Turks, Tartars, Arabs, 
Crusaders, and British. The world little realizes that Jeru 
salem has been besieged close to fifty times, partially destroyed 
thirty-two times, and totally destroyed five times. What 
would a fourth valley have meant to her? THE PEACE, 
which she has never known. 

The first glimpse of Jerusalem, the part which signifies the 
Holy City to three world faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and 
Mohammedanism, is of the historic encircling walls. These 
present the appearance of a huge fortress. With the brilliant 
sun upon their soft brown the city becomes " Jerusalem the 
golden." Its present appearance is in a large part what has 
been given to it by the Saracens who in the seventh century 
made conquest of it. Its present walls were for the most part 
built by the Turks in the sixteenth century. The two and 
a half miles around the City Wall, which is thirty-eight feet 
high, are marked here and there by towers and gates, en 
trances to the Old City, the city which is interesting to the 
whole world. 

Of the principal gates, some mere breaches in the Wall, 
there are two. One is Damascus Gate, Its towers, turrets, 
and projecting parapets and above " the chamber over the 
gate," such an one as David mourned Absalom in, present an 
appearance both beautiful and imposing. To this site came 

8o Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

pilgrims from Nazareth to pass into Jerusalem in Jesus day. 
From here went Saul of Tarsus " breathing out thrcatenings 
and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord " in the first 
century. The principal entrance to the Old City is Jaffa 
Gate. More footsteps of Israel have passed through here, past 
the Tower of David, than anywhere else in the whole world. 
It is the place to meet your friends; it is the place to observe 
many Oriental types; it is the real entrance to the city which 
is the home of about thirty thousand people* (1946) 

From the moment that one enters through Jaffa Gate one 
is beset by pandemonium. I shall tell you of the Holy City 
today, not as David knew it even though he did build a Jeru 
salem in 1000 B. c., nor as Jesus would have seen it. To know 
it as Jesus knew it, we should have to peel off what nineteen 
hundred years have laid on, almost sixty feet of debris in the 
Tyropean Valley between the two hills of the city, Zion and 

The streets within are narrow, in some cases narrower than 
many of our sidewalks, averaging at the very most but three 
yards. No room for vehicles. Here jostle people of every 
race and religion, soldiers, vendors, priests, pilgrims, tourists, 
and beggars. They are clothed in many contrasting materials, 
designs, and hues. The man in the purple velvet cloak and 
the heavy fur hat is on his way to the Wailing Wall where he 
will join others who have come to pray, to read, to wail out 
their woe for the lost glory of Jerusalem and the Jewish 
Temple. The tall bearded patriarch, a Greek from the Or 
thodox church, and the black-robed priest are on their way 
to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Dressed like Jacob and 
his sons the group of Arabs in flowing " kuffiyehs ** and woven 
" abbas " step out of shadows and move along with stately 
mien to the Dome of the Rock, the Moslem sanctuary. Shape 
less feminine figures, swathed in black, as necessary in this 
gaily-colored man s world as punctuation is to fine prose, slip 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 81 

past barely noticed, never heard. In this close-packed democ 
racy there mingle also with equal rights sheep, goats, donkeys, 
horses, and camels. 

Beyond Jaffa Gate, diving into David Street is the best de 
scription of the manner one enters to go to the most interest 
ing places in this comparatively small town. Visitors seldom 
recover from the surprise of how small Jerusalem actually is* 
David Street, the Broadway of this world, is narrow, a cobble 
stone, step-street, slippery and treacherous on damp days, and 
so packed with people of all types that often I have stood 
helpless in its midst. Down past stalls with an amazing array 
of oranges, melons, giant cauliflowers, red tomatoes, arti-r 
chokes, and the most disgusting-looking fish, past smoking 
charcoal braziers, strong-smelling, creamy-white cheese, and 
hanging mutton, through aisles of cotton goods, festoons of 
brass coffeepots, and dangling shoes. On a sunshiny day it 
is a glittering chaos. It is not unusual to see a sleepy-eyed 
little donkey lean his shaggy head upon a convenient shoulder 
if traffic gets tied up in David Street. 

In the booths, mere " holes in the walls,* 5 along the streets 
of Jerusalem, which constitute the famous bazaars, sales are 
made with a minimum of assistance. Here again the tourist 
must bargain to buy. The Oriental shopkeeper purposely 
raises his price in order to have a little game with the cus 

In most of the principal streets can be found these " holes 
in the walls/ where men, ignorant of mass production, can be 
seen manufacturing the necessaries of Jerusalem life. There 
are some streets in which various trades are carried on. The 
cobblers are grouped together; the butchers in their red coats 
occupy another lane; and in still other byways men can be 
seen carding wool as it must have been done in David s day. 
Simon, the tanner, has opened a branch office in Jerusalem 
and is apt to extend an invitation to step inside over his laid- 

8s Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

out leather; and it might even be Alexander the coppersmith 
who looks up from his noisy work to wonder why a visitor is 
so interested in pots and pans* 

Some bazaars are arched over with masonry. These 
" suks " date from the time of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. 
Arched streets are apt to keep rising odors from mutton too- 
long-killed and cheese far-too-ripe stifling and slightly over 
whelming. Holes in the masonry tops, which are the only 
sources of light and air, are frequently almost filled in with 
green growing grass and wild flowers offering brief glimpses 
of fresh,, blue sky. In none of the streets within the ancient 
city is any color or any odor lacking. 

It has been my experience that there are several places in 
the Old City to which every visitor and every Bible student 
comes more than once ; even if only visiting Jerusalem a mat 
ter of hours instead of days or weeks, one finds himself slip 
ping off for a memorable moment or two more at the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre, the Temple area, and the Wailing 


From David Street I have often turned left onto Christian 
Street and come finally to an entrance at the top of a flight 
of steps. I have passed through a short lane of booths, dis 
playing brightly decorated candles, glaring pictures of red, 
blue, and gold painted on wood, rosaries, mother-of-pearl 
ornaments for tourists, baskets of ** Jericho roses," and 
" crowns of thorns," I have gone down the steps, past the 
beggars and a man with his small store of necessities for pil 
grims, beads, rosaries, crucifixes, which many neglect to buy 
before visiting the cathedral church of Christendom, Thou 
sands of prayer-beads are blessed every year by the priests of 
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to be distributed the world 
over to friends and relatives of visitors. And I have found 

Photographed by tlarrlft-Lonisf //. Patterson 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem covers the 
sites identified in the first archaeological excavations in 
the Holy City in the fourth century as Calvary and the Tomb 
of Jesus. Permanent iron girders today destroy the beauty 
of old doors and pillars and support its facade, because in 
the earthquakes of 1927 this landmark suffered badly. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 83 

myself before the great Crusaders church, where the tradi 
tional tomb of Jesus and the site of Calvary is located. 

Today the church has iron girders upholding its fagade. 
These destroy the beauty of the old doors and pillars and are 
apt to leave a bad first impression with visitors. In the earth 
quakes of 1927 this church, which covers sites identified in 
the first archaeological excavation begun in this part of the 
world as Calvary and the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, 
suffered badly. In order that time would not witness the 
total destruction of this landmark all precautions have been 
taken since then to safeguard worshippers within the church. 
It has been braced within and without. It has been ia sharp 
contrast to the brilliant sunlit courtyard that I have passed 
into the gloom of a once glorious church. 

To many visitors the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a 
bewildering chaos, a confusion of pillars, statues, banners, pic 
tures, chapels, altars, gilt and colored glass, candles, and in 
cense. I have heard them revile the ecclesiasticism which pre 
vails here. Yet it seems to me that no reverent visitor can 
have his visit to this church spoiled if he will only remember 
the Bible lessons from the past. It is possible with sincere 
willingness to understand men s motives and the sheer power 
of wishing to have the jewels, the statues, the pictures, and 
the incense fade away and there will be left a bare hill, three 
crosses, the Master and the thieves, an empty tomb, a winding 
sheet, Mary his mother in the arms of John, and weeping 
women at an open door from which a stone was rolled away. 
If there ever has been criticism in my heart when entering this 
church perhaps because I am not sympathetic to the worship 
ping creeds and their respective rituals, I have reminded my 
self to look beyond the outward symbols of worship and know 
that through the ages humble men and women worshipping 
here have caught a vision of the Christ and touched the. 
fringes of eternity. 

84 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

There are discordant notes in this edifice which was erected 
in the name of Jesus Christ. And yet, they are not as bad 
as many writers and guides would have the world believe. I 
have never seen any hatred flare into open flame to be 
whipped into a fury warmed by hot, red blood. Yet I have 
been here many times when the church was thronged with 
pilgrims. The strongest evidence I have ever seen of the 
enmity among the competing branches of the Catholic church 
has been on Sunday morning when I have watched and 
heard five simultaneous religious services. Standing within 
the sanctuary with my guide and friend, Jacob Nusaibeh, the 
present Keeper of the Key to the door of the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre, I have thought on these things: how since 
the time of Saladin this family has -been entrusted with the 
key to open the one door of this huge church to worshippers 
daily; how since this long time Moslems have been en 
trusted to keep peace among Christians whose Way-shower is 
called u The Prince of Peace/* When the British came to 
Palestine and took up the duties of administering the Man 
date, to this same Moslem family was given the continued 
honor of keeping peace among the many sects of Christianity 
worshipping here. Watching, Jacob and I have seen in gor 
geous ecclesiastical vestments the five sets of churchmen: the 
Greeks, the Latins, the Armenians, the Copts, and the 
Syrians parade around this sacred sanctuary, carry on their 
solemn liturgies without joining once one with another, 

Later I have entered a small cell completely lined in 
marble. It is six and a half feet long, six feet wide. Only two, 
possibly three, at the most, can enter at a time. Here is 
found the slab of cracked marble covering the rock upon 
which Jesus was placed after the crucifixion. From the mar 
ble roof of the compact cell hang lamps, which belong in 
various proportions to the Greek, Latin, Armenian, and Cop 
tic churches. Standing at the head of the marble slab is usu- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 85 

ally an impassive Greek monk, wearing a black cassock and 
a high black, rimless hat beneath which his hair is pinned in 
a round bun in the back. He holds a bunch of candles and 
as pilgrims enter he gives them one which they light from 
others burning in this tomb of Jesus. 

I truly believe that these discordant notes of ritualism and 
pious enmity of which I have only briefly spoken are forgotten 
in the contemplation of the Christians who, in exalted faith, 
come here and pray reverently. All tongues, denominations, 
and nationalities, each bringing the special character of adora 
tion peculiar to his own heart, his own creed, his own land, 
come together here about a common center, the tomb of 
Jesus. I feel I must impress upon you, as it has been indelibly 
impressed upon me time and again as I have lingered in the 
shadows of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it is the pil 
grims who stir one most within this sacred area. They come 
from distant lands; they are members of all branches of the 
Church. But here they kneel in patient, earnest prayer and 
meditation. They pray, many of them, in the name of Jesus 
the Christ with a deep, deep desire in this Holy of Holies. To 
many this pilgrimage to the tomb of their risen Lord means 
the end of a life s dream. I have seen joy, peace, and content 
ment written upon the faces of these faithful as they have risen 
from their knees. 

I promise you, my reader, that a visit to the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre can be the Easter lesson coming to Life, ris 
ing from the dead. It can be, I say, it is not always ... it 
depends upon the attitude. 


Wandering from this church along the street known as the 
Via Dolorosa from a holy site for Christendom, I have 
come within view of another sacred site; but this time to the 
third holiest site for Moslems in the world. In brilliant sun- 

86 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

shine, on cobblestone, uneven pavements lined with beggars 
and resting pedestrians, some lying like bundles of rags in the 
shade provided by ledges and arches, I have found myself at 
buildings now occupying the traditional site of Herod s Tower 
of Antonia. This is the first station of the Gross for the Latins, 
where Jesus was crowned with thorns. 

I came to the site of the Praetorium at three o clock one 
Friday afternoon. Beneath a Syrian blue sky, in a glare of 
sunshine and the extreme heat of mid-afternoon in May, I 
saw faithful ones kneel down in prayer. Nothing seemed to 
break the sanctity of this moment as the priest s voice was 
lifted to intone the Latin words at the first station of the Cross 
on the Via Dolorosa. The ritual of the " Way o Sorrows " is 
observed every Friday afternoon by the Franciscans on the 
actual streets of the present-day Jerusalem. 

But behind those kneeling Christians, I looked through 
open windows to a broad area of thirty-five acres within the 
present city s walls, which has occupied the pages of history 
for thirty-eight centuries. Here came Abraham to sacrifice 
his son Isaac; one thousand years later it was Araunah the 
Jebusite s threshing floor, which David bought as a site for the 
Hebrew Temple; here Solomon built the imposing structure 
known as Solomon s Temple, which was destroyed five hun 
dred years later in 586 B. c. by the Babylonians. A second 
Temple rose upon the same site to be torn down afterwards to 
make way for the magnificent Herod s Temple of Roman 
times. This latter was the one which Jesus visited when he 
was twelve and the one which he cleansed during the Last 
Week of his earthly life. But of it he prophesied: "There 
shall not be one stone upon another that shall not be thrown 
down." In 70 A. D. the prophecy was fulfilled. Titus Ves- 
pasius* armies totally destroyed Jerusalem, neglecting the in 
structions to save the Jewish Temple. Today on the same 
site of all these events, upon the same vast platform upon 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 87 

which the beloved Temple stood, stands a Moslem sanctuary 
called the Dome of the Rock. They say in Jerusalem that the 
stones of this elevated platform are little changed from Roman 
times. The vast area is encircled by graceful arches, pulpits, 
prayer niches, marble fountains, groups of olive trees, tall 
cypresses, but rising above them all like an exquisite jewel in a 
perfect setting is the Dome of the Rock, glistening and ethe 
real. It is a picture scarcely to be surpassed anywhere in the 

Descending from, the height overlooking the Haram area 
to the streets again, I have come to one of the direct entrances 
to the Temple area, to the handsome fountain at the Gate of 
the Chain which lies at the end of David Street. The large 
flagstones just inside the double gateway are considered Hero- 
dian. If so, then they may well be said to have been crossed 
by Jesus. Turning to the right from this entrance and coming 
to a pretty fountain, there is one of the great staircases leading 
up from the surrounding court to the elevated platform upon 
which stands the Moslem shrine. 

This beautiful mosque, whose blue lead dome excels in 
grace, was built in 691 A. D. Its windows are remarkable for 
their delicate tracery and brilliancy of coloring. No two of 
the Saracenic windows are alike. Its octagonal walls are 
decorated with colored, glazed Persian tiles. Their encrusta 
tion was ordered by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1561. The 
effect of the tiles covered with beautiful arabesques and grace 
ful tracery of Arabic writing and the exquisite mosaics is 

When the visitor to the Holy City enters into this pride 
and ornament of Jerusalem, perhaps it is the subdued light, 
colored by the stained glass windows, which produces such a 
rare effect upon him. The mosque is seen to best advantage 
when there is a full blaze of Syrian sun streaming through the 
windows. The beautiful interior gives an air of mystery and a 

88 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

prominence that it might not otherwise possess to the Sakhra 
or living rock, which it now covers* This building is ap 
propriately called Dome of the Rock rather than the Mosque 
of Omar. 

Surrounded by an intricate screen of metalwork is a huge 
slab of living rock. In some lights it is a soft brown, polished 
in surface. This rock formed part of the threshing floor of 
Araunah; west of this rock which became the Altar of Burnt 
Offerings, Solomon built the Hebrew Temple; behind it 
Herod constructed that enormous sanctuary which was still 
in the building when Jesus visited Jerusalem. These are a few 
of the thoughts which crowd one s mind* 

Interesting, too, are the ideas and history of another age 
and faith, Moslems believe that from this rock their prophet 
Mohammed ascended to heaven* They believe, too, that the 
rock started after Mohammed and only because the angel 
Gabriel put his hand upon it to stay it did it remain behind. 
Further they believe that the Sakhra stands suspended in mid 
air ever since that fateful day, This latter I cannot attest for 
I have never been able to see all the way under the rock. 

It is quite easy to imagine Jesus preaching in the open 
spaces here at what is now known as the Haram area. There 
is an astonishing resemblance between the Temple of Herod s 
day and the Mosque which stands here now; perhaps it is 
that which helps the Bible student to preserve the illusion, per 
haps it is that which makes him believe that this is a ghost of 
the Temple In whose courtyards Jesus preached and from 
whose gates he drove hucksters. Remember that this area has 
not been built upon again and again since the first century. 
It has come to us essentially unchanged. There is a central 
shrine with sacred buildings clustering about it surrounded by 
paved courts. The Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple stood 
uplifted above surrounding courts in much the same manner 
as the Dome of the Rock. The open spaces found here today 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 89 

correspond to the open spaces found on the Temple area in 
Jesus time. The sheiks who perform services at the Mosque 
live in quarters under the colonnades as the priests of the Tem 
ple used to do. They have regular terms of office. Upon 
completion of them they return home until the time of min 
istration again occurs. This was the custom in Bible days 
among the Jews. Zacharias, who was the father of John the 
Baptist, entertained an angel visitant at the Temple during 
the course of his term of ministration which lasted only a 
week, from Sabbath to Sabbath. Afterwards the Bible re 
cords: " That as soon as the days of his ministration were ac 
complished, he departed to his own house." It is not unusual 
at all to see an old i^ian talking to some boys in the shade of 
the porches. Sometimes they seem to be disputing among 
one another. It is the same as when Jesus both heard and 
asked questions of the teachers as they sat in the cloisters of 
Herod s Temple. 

Wandering here another day I came upon a squatting 
Bedouin mother with her little brood of tanned children, who 
tumbled and huddled around her knees and clutched at her 
capacious skirts as she suckled an infant held lightly to her 
breast. Only two lustrous, black eyes but enough to include 
them all in her broad gaze and watch their every move; only 
two hands but enough to steady stumbling first steps and guide 
a hungry mouth to food; there she sat the All-in- All of her 
children, the queen of her woman s world. I thought back 
many years ago to a time when another mother came after 
the days of her purification to this broad area to present her 
new-born son before Simeon in the Temple. Mary must have 
sat down in the cool shade of one of the sacred buildings to 
suckle her infant son, while she waited for Joseph. 

There are a number of other structures around the present 
Dome of the Rock on the Haram area. The Dome of the 
Chain is a miniature copy of the central building. At the ex- 

go Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

treme southern end is the Mosque el Aksa, That it was origi 
nally a Christian church is immediately evident to the most 
casual sight-seer from its cruciform interior. Beyond the tall 
cypresses and the splashing fountain in front of Mosque el 
Aksa which is fed by Solomon s Pools on the Hebron Road 
and beneath the southeastern end of the Haram is a myste 
rious, great-vaulted substructure, known as Solomon s Stables. 
Descending the steps of this huge underground cavern I was 
speechless the first time before the spectacle of a hundred or 
more vaults with roofs upheld by pillars and mighty arches of 
stone. Some stone blocks are enormous; eight feet wide and 
fifteen feet high, said my guide. They are beautifully set in 
place and closely joined. The pillars are, I should say, about 
four feet square and a good number of them have holes bored 
through the corners. These holes in the columns were the 
hitching places for the horses. In some my guide pointed out 
stone mangers. Hardly a relic of Solomonic splendor, the 
place may date from the first century, but, at any rate, the 
Crusaders stabled their steeds here. 

Coming up into the daylight from Solomon s Stables, I 
have liked to climb the eastern wall of the Temple area for a 
view of the city and its environs. Jerusalem rises like an am 
phitheatre to the west, south, and north with hundreds of 
those box-shaped limestone houses which form the greater 
part of Jerusalem proper. To the east is a splendid prospect 
past the Mount of Olives spotted with churches, monasteries, 
convents, and gardens to the hills of the Judean Wilderness. 
And one dazzling glance down the outside of the Old Wall 
seventy feet straight down reveals the steep slope of the 
Kidron Valley covered with tombstones. 


One of the most pathetic sights in the whole world is to be 
seen just outside that sacred area of which I have been telling 


tHW - g 

F ^ <u VH rt * 

* a d 5 g 2 


o W 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 91 

you against the southwestern wall in a paved space given to 
the Jews. It is the Jews 3 Wailing Wall. Here they come to 
pray and to read from the Hebrew prophets and to wail out 
their woe under the very shadow of the area upon which once 
stood the pride of their nation, the Temple. Here with tears 
streaming down their faces Jews of both sexes and all ages 
stand, sit or bow as they read or chant. Perhaps they kiss the 
walls or insert in the cracks little hopeful, prayerful messages 
written in Hebrew. Occasionally one is seen to pound in a 
nail in accordance with Ezra 9, verse 8, which symbolizes a 
possession or a sure abode. They chant a litany, read portions 
of the Psalms, parts of Jeremiah s Lamentations. After all 
these hundreds of years, men and women still stand at the 
Wailing Wall bewailing the lost sanctuary, shedding bitter 
tears of sorrow for the lost glory of Israel, and praying with 
a hopeless hope for the return of their ancient worship in 

Why do I say an almost hopeless hope? Because I have 
stood here so often and watched reformed Jews of our mod 
ern world as they have come to the Wailing Wall to gape, to 
be amused, and to ridicule their Orthodox brethren to whom 
religion and its ritual is the whole of life. They are not sym 
pathetic to this old form of worship; it seems so unavailing to 
modern Jewry who has other methods at its command to 
remove the mountains of this present world. Ask any mem 
ber of the Zionist movement in Jerusalem to go down to the 
Wailing Wall and then watch the look of disdain and disgust 
which comes over his face at the mere mention of the out 
moded ritual continued there. That is why I say the Wailing 
Wall is a pathetic place. Not because of the customs perpetu 
ated nor the visible intensity of devotion manifested there but 
because the attitude of their modern Jewish brethren is so in 
different to religion as a solution to mankind s problems. The 
remnant at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem seems a symbol of 

92 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the reduction in their ranks throughout the world of those who 
make " first things first." 

Sometimes as I have stood listening to their pleading 
prayers, I have remembered Isaiah, the Hebrew prophet of 
faith, who urged complete reliance upon Jehovah in all eco 
nomic, social, and political emergencies. His intensity in 
supplication must have equalled fervor such as this here. 
Listening to the low wails, the plaintive murmurs, the sobbing 
lamentations, I have remembered Jeremiah, the prophet- 
pacifist, who urged his countrymen to bow to the inevitable 
yoke of Babylon and thereby preserve the peace of Jerusalem. 
The " Weeping Prophet " was stirred by the lack in his peo 
ple, their futile attempt to save themselves and their beloved 
city of Jerusalem, and it wrung from him a bitter outcry: 
" Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of 
tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the 
daughter of my people ! " His must have been a vocal fervor 
such as one hears here. 


/ walk about Mount ^ion, linger in the Upper Room of the 
Gospels, and where Peter denied Jesus hear a cock crow. I stop 
at the Pool of Bethesda. At the Convent of the Sisters of %ion, 1 
am shown ff Gabbatha" 

r I *HE Psalmist s injunction was in my head this early 
JL morning: 

"Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers 

" Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces." PSALM 
48: 12, 13. 

Poets have called Jerusalem itself Mount Zion; tradition 
locates it on the western hill occupying the southwest por 
tion of the town and partly outside the present City Wall. 
In reality Zion was south of the Temple area. 

I was interested in it because this was the Upper City where 
the palaces of Herod and of Caiaphas stood and where be 
hind them stretched their extensive and beautiful gardens. 
But something more compelling drew me. It was on Mount 
Zion that the house of John Mark s mother was located where 
Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples, to which the 
apostles fled in fear after the crucifixion, where Christ ap 
peared to the eleven after the resurrection, and where fifty 
days after Passover on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit 
was made manifest among the company of believers. Here 
Matthias was chosen to fill the place in the Circle formerly 
held by Judas. Here, too, gathered friends praying for Peter s 
delivery from prison when he suddenly appeared at the door 


94 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

for Rhoda the scatter-brained servant girl to admit him. A 
building stands on the site of all these events which attaches to 
itself one of the strongest traditions in the history of Christian 
ity and that place was what I was on my way to see. 

Down Jaffa Road I went to Jaffa Gate. The Citadel, a 
mighty fortress with three large towers, loomed high and im 
posing. The great blocks forming its foundations date from 
when Herod the Great had a fortified palace here, but the 
present building was constructed mainly in the early four 
teenth century. This morning I did not pass through the gate 
but went on to the break in the Wall and entered from there 
into the Old City. 

It was early and so I stopped at Jerusalem s principal fruit 
and vegetable market at the base of the Citadel on Zion. 
Women come here from near-by villages at sunrise with their 
produce. .Dark reds and blues are their favorite colors. Long 
white veils stream backward from their bronzed, tattooed 
faces. I watched many a woman walk erect with a baby 
slung on her back in addition to a shallow basket of vegetables 
atop her head. Cabbages, lettuce, beans, peas, artichokes, 
parsley, and vine leaves predominated among purple egg 
plant, white marrow, and green cucumbers. The fruits in 
cluded luscious oranges from Jaffa, apricots from Bethlehem 
and Beit Jala, nectarines from near-by Jerusalem, bananas 
from Jericho, and watermelons from the coast around Caesa- 
rea. Up from David Street came a shepherd marching at 
the head of his flock, carrying in his arms a new-born lamb. 
As they passed me, I heard the patter of the little feet and as 
they skipped along the Bethlehem Road, I saw them kicking 
up little clouds of dust. 

I rounded the Citadel and continuing my walk moved 
slowly along with a motley crowd on Zion Street through the 
Armenian quarter, I found the neighborhood a confusing 
maze of walls, churches, and monasteries. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 95 

The Armenians are very rich in church property. The 
Monastery maintains hospices capable of housing several 
thousand pilgrims at a time and there are schools here for 
boys and girls. The Church of St. James, their most beauti 
ful church, was built to glorify the martyred Apostle, the son 
of Zebedee, who was beheaded at the order of Herod. I 
found it very interesting and handsome, especially the beauti 
ful old tiles adorning its walls. I lingered a long time in the 
porch looking at some curious old wooden gongs, relics of the 
days when intolerant Moslems forbade the ringing of bells in 

Just a few steps outside Zion Gate I came to another group 
of modern ecclesiastical buildings. In the courtyard of the 
Monastery, standing on tombstones which pave the court, I 
tried to realize that legend places the house of Caiaphas, High 
Priest at the trial of Jesus, on this site. If this is so, I said to 
myself, then Jesus came from Annas here after he was arrested 
in Gethsemane, in this place he must have stood trial before 
the hastily assembled Sanhedrin, and somewhere in a near-by 
court Peter warming his hands before an open fire denied his 
Lord three times to a questioning maid. 

Not caring to visit it, I passed by the church which covers 
the place where Mary, his mother, lived her latter years and 
died. At the end of the road I entered an arched gateway, 
went through a corridor, and climbed a staircase into an 
upper room. 

This site is known with something approaching certainty. 

Epiphanius mentions a tradition, which goes back as far as the 
time of Hadrian, that a little house, the first Christian 
church in the world, was one of the few buildings left stand 
ing when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A. D. A long, unbroken 
chain of tradition which seems trustworthy identifies the so- 
called Coenaculum with the Church of the Apostles and the 
scene of the Last Supper. Some kind of Christian building 

96 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

has marked this site until the Moslems wrested it from the 
Franciscans. When a report spread that the tomb of David 
full of treasure lay beneath the Chamber of the Last Supper 
the Moslems drove out the Christians, seized the church, and 
converted it into a shrine, which they call En Ncbi Daoud or 
the Prophet David* 

Fortunately, the site of the Upper Room has not been spoilt 
by gaudy decoration and embellishment; the simple, plain 
vaulted room looks old and I felt that the strength of old tra 
dition actually lingered and was at home in this place. 

Christians are denied worship here. Since no one hurried 
me off I lingered meditating in its subdued light as long as I 

It was a wonderful experience to stand in what is still an 
upper room and recall the story of Jesus* last night. I could 
see it all again. A long room built on the flat roof of an East 
ern house, which had been prepared by Peter and John for 
their Master s final meal with his disciples* A room sup 
ported by pillars. I could imagine in this now emptied room 
the low table, only slightly raised from the carpet-strewn 
stone floor, and the mats on which they reclined at an angle 
with it. The lamps suspended from the ceiling shedding a 
soft light over the participants in the drama and over the 
common dish, the cups of wine, and the bread assembled on 
the table. The air of suspense and impending tragedy. Jesus 
saying, " Take and eat this, it means my body," Taking the 
cup of wine, and, thanking God, giving it to them, and de 
claring, "Drink of it, all of you; this means my covenant- 
blood which is shed for many; truly I tell you, I will never 
drink the produce of the vine again till the day I drink it new 
within the Realm of God/ (A New Translation, Moffatt,) 

The simple, symbolic rite of the broken bread and out 
poured wine only Jesus fully understood; the disciples and 
Christians since have only imperfectly glimpsed its meaning 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 97 

and purpose. Many have thought that by some magic the 
bread and wine in this rite were transmuted and that they 
were eating his actual body and blood. But might it not also 
be, I queried of myself here in the Upper Room, more than 
symbols of his flesh and blood but of his spirit and life? Does 
its meaning not go beyond the fact that he lived, beyond an 
attempt to make it a means of selfishly and easily getting the 
benefits of his bitter earthly experience vicariously? Surely 
the meaning of the rite is found in a Christian s fidelity to the 
moral and spiritual qualities which the Christ embodies and 
his dedication to the realization of the ideals and spirit of 
Christ " in earth, as it is in heaven." 

I have said that Christians are not allowed to worship here 
and so no observance of the last earthly meal is practised in 
the place. Notwithstanding, I felt a tremendous new sense of 
what he meant when he suggested: " This do in remembrance 
of me." My thoughts lingered with the notion that the aims 
of Jesus make it quite certain that: 

" The Holy Supper is kept, indeed, 

In whatso we share with another s need; 
Not what we give, but what we share, 

For the gift without the giver is bare; 
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three, 
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me." 


Certainly there was much in the atmosphere of this plain 
room which made me feel that it was the starting-place from 
which Jesus that Thursday night went out unto the Mount of 

I left and wandered along an old street constructed of wide 
paving blocks on the southwest hill. Descending a broad 
street of steps, all at once the landscape opened. High on 
the hillside but far below the frowning southeast corner of 

98 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the Wall, there was a well-worn track that leads down sharply 
into the valley. A man and his donkey were coming along it. 
Idly, I wondered if perhaps that spring moonlight night Jesus 
and the apostles followed this road now outside the Wall from 
Dung Gate to Gethsemane. Olivet in its quiet and sunny 
peace came into view; thousands of white sepulchres rose out 
of the Kidron Valley; every little goat path was clear and dis 
tinct; the hovels of Siloam clung to the Mount of Offense, 
their green gardens deep in shadows stretched south and west 
away to the Hinnom Valley. A cock crowed in the vicinity of 
Siloam Village. It was the only sound, but it brought Peter 
vividly before me. 

In the chill morning light in the courtyard of the High 
Priest s palace, Peter three times denied the accusation that he 
was a follower of the Galilean. The cock crowing recalled to 
his harassed mind not only his earlier declaration, " If all shall 
be offended in thee, I will never be offended," but also Jesus* 
prophecy, " This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny 
me thrice." The Apostle may have overestimated his loyalty 
but not his love. Peter failed a good many times in following 
his leader, but he, nevertheless, loved him with all the strength 
of his impulsive nature. When the noisy cock recalled to him 
the prophetic words of his Master, he went out to weep 

A distant cock crowed again a gay, bold note as I turned 
back toward Zion Gate. 


The way to the Pool of Bethesda leads through the crooked 
duskiness of David Street, a turn to the left into Christian 
Street, another turn right and a descent of steps to the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre. Across the courtyard and through a 
door in the wall and it comes onto Via Dolorosa. This street 
was laid out by men who have attempted to reconstruct the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 99 

probable path of that grievous journey from the Judgment 
Hall of Pilate to Calvary, a path which now lies buried far 
below the present level of Jerusalem. There are nine prayer 
stations along here for Latin Christians; the other five are 
within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Lining this sacred 
way are white walls which hide nunneries, churches, mon 
asteries, and convents. 

Almost at the end of the narrow streetway, near to St 
Stephen s Gate, I stopped another morning before a door in 
a stone wall. I pulled the bell string. A whiskered monk 

looked through a window at me, opened the door, and bowed 
me into the courtyard of the Monastery o St. Anne. Through 
the small room where souvenir postcards were for sale, the 
monk led me to a staircase which runs down between the 
church and the wall to the Pool of Bethesda, one of the mi 
raculous healing places of ancient Jewish times. Seeing a 
framed bit of Scripture on the wall, I hesitated to read : 

" Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which 
is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches. 

" In these lay a multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, 
withered, waiting for the moving of the water . . . 

". . . whosoever then first after the troubling of the water 
stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." 
JOHN 5:2-4. 

I followed my guide down the steps and in the dim light we 
stood together looking at the floor of the pool. It held a little 
dirty water, but it is usually dry, he explained. 

" In early days superstitious people thought an angel trou 
bled the waters that mysteriously came in here because at 
times they became agitated. See, it has c five porches/ as the 
writer of the Gospel of John says, because the pool is a long 
rectangle one porch on each of its four sides divided into 
two squares or twin pools by a porch across the middle. The 

ioo Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

sick, palsied, lame, blind, and halt waited on the porches or 
balconies around the pool of water until there came at one 
time or another a ruffling of these still waters, as if they were 
troubled by angels wings. At that instant if the waiting mob 
rushed down into the pool, they were instantly healed. But 
for thirty-eight years one man had had a hard time of it. Be 
cause he was too helpless and weak, he was always just too 
late getting into the water. One day Jesus came here. When 
the man told him of his difficulty, he healed him with the 
words, * Take up thy bed, and walk/ " 

I rather wished as I looked at the pool and listened to the 
monk s explanation that the Pool of Bethesda looked as it 
used to when the lame, halt, and blind bathed in it, and when 
the man who had waited so long to be helped into the waters 
was healed by Jesus. But then there are many places in the 
Holy Land that need imagination. 


Returning along the Via Dolorosa, I came to a large, high, 
graceful arch spanning an otherwise unroofed street. It is 
called the Ecce Homo Arch in Jerusalem. According to tra 
dition, it marks the place where Pilate in turning Jesus over 
to the Jews said: " Behold, the man." Under this arch Jesus 
walked, here Paul was brought when in the near-by Temple 
court the mob seized him, and on a stairway here he turned 
and addressed his captors, 

I knocked at a door in the wall and waited, I was wel 
comed by a nun in the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. I was 
invited into a reception room and motioned to a seat among 
those surrounding the wall. This sister, who spoke no English, 
went away and before another came into the room my eyes 
looked around at the rugs and religious decorations on tables, 
floors, and walls. This second nun could speak English. 

She bore me off to a room where there was a door in the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 101 

floor. She went ahead, but she glanced about to see if I were 
following. I saw that her eyes were twinkling beneath her 
stiff, white headdress as though she had something very in 
teresting in store to show me. Come, she beckoned. The 
stairway led down far beneath the convent. As I followed 
along, I heard her soft voice explaining that, although three 
sites for the Praetorium are discussed by scholars, this place is 
generally accepted as the location of Pilate s Judgment Hall. 

Soon I was standing on the excavated remains of a paved 
street, an actual pavement of a former Jerusalem dating from 
Roman occupation of Palestine. The paving blocks here were 
of heavy, yellowish slabs of stone, a yard square, a foot or 
more thick. They were ribbed with the wheels of chariots. 
The nun reminded me that these very stones had felt the 
sandals of Jesus when he stood before Pilate sitting " on the 
judgment-seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, 
Gabbatha." Above the din and uproar of the Jews outside 
the Praetorium, who had not entered fearing defilement 
before their great feast, and from the open-air platform here, 
Pilate formally opened the historic trial of Jesus of Nazareth. 
Acquiescing to Jewish demands and delivering the man to his 
enemies, these same stones had heard the Procurator as he 
called out to the Jews, " Behold, your King! " 

She pointed out markings of one destroyed Jerusalem 
beneath another; and evidences of walls that once were the 
walls of a great house. She took me, too, to see the markings 
for games which had been scored into some parts of the 
pavement for the amusement of the Roman guard. A 
favorite pastime with the soldiers was a game called " Mock 
ing the King." I remembered the stark tragedy in Mark s 
account of the Roman soldiers sporting with Jesus. 

" They clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of 
thorns, and put it about his head, 

" And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 

102 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit 
upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. 

" And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple 
from him, and put his own clothes on him, . . ." MARK 
15: 17-20. 

I went back to gaze once again at the old roadway at 
Gabbatha. The agonizing trials which Jesus had been forced 
to endure: before the Sanhedrin, in Herod s court, and before 
Pilate here in the sudden and astounding collapse of Roman 
justice at the demands of a frenzied mob of priests and rabble, 
passed in review in my mind and left me numb in heart. 

The nun had long since ceased speaking* She was waiting 
quietly for me when suddenly I became acutely aware of the 
solemn stillness in this place. What was it that this silence 
would have me remember? 

It was this Jesus stood alone here in the Judgment Hall 
while others marvelled at the silence of him. He did not hear 
the scorn nor laughter because his ears were deaf to the jeer 
ing populace. He did not see their lustful faces because his 
eyes were straining for his Father s face. And from this place 
Jesus set his feet firmly and without fear upon the road that 
he must tread leading to the top of a green hill where three 
crosses stood. As I stood here, believing for the moment in its 
historical accuracy, I thought: " God moves in a mysterious 
way His wonders to perform/ 5 

Then in the noonday heat I walked from the Convent of 
the Sisters of Zion home through the enchanted streets of old 
Jerusalem, back to have lunch with my friends. And all the 
way back, my heart was filled "with wonder, love, and 



I ramble outside the Old Wall. The Valley of Hinnom 
(Gehenna) holds no terrors now. Siloam Village sprawls on a 
hillside. I go to see the tunnel which Hezekiah cut in the rock 
when the Assyrian threatened to come down ff like a wolf on the 
fold" I go through the Kidron Valley to Gihon and climb the 
hill to Gordon s Calvary. I visit the underground quarries 
which provided the stone for Solomon s Temple. 

IT was a blustery March afternoon, I came out of the 
Y. M. G. A. Across the road was the new King David 
Hotel My guide was waiting for me. My purpose was to 
walk around outside the Wall. 

I knew he disapproved of my determination because he 
criticised my shoes as unsuitable. He warned me more than 
once of the difficulties involved in a walk outside the Wall: 
rough roads, sometimes scarcely a footpath, the meanness of 
Siloam s villagers who might detain us, the loneliness of the 
walk. Again he suggested using donkeys. Up to that time I 
had never ridden a donkey and, knowing something of the 
topography, I was loath to try it. I knew I could run. I 
didn t know I could stay " put " on a donkey! I have since 
changed my mind. I love to ramble outside the Old Wall on 
the back of one of these nimble-kneed, wise beasts, who need 
no guides to follow. Finally, seeing it was to no avail, he 
capitulated: " For you only, Miss Patterson, would I do this 
never for anyone who has come to the Holy Land would I 
take such a walk! " 

From Julian Street, we struck off across an olive orchard, 
passing an old windmill. Ahead of us was a picture I shall 
long remember. At one glance I saw a long section of 


104 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Suleiman s mighty wall from the Citadel to the tall tower of 
the Dormition Church on the southwest hill, with the Sultan s 
Pool lying far beneath me and the Valley of Hinnom sinking 
away to the great gap in the hills which leads down to Jericho. 
We crossed the Bethlehem Road where we met a group of 
resting Bedouin shepherds, veiled women, and dirty children. 
I found myself stumbling down the steep, dusty, cruelly 
rocky path into the Valley of Hinnorn, which is Gehenna 
otherwise hell of the New Testament. I had not counted on 
a desert wind to blow me down the hills, sand to fill my eyes, 
and an occasional shower while the sun shone to add to the 
rigors of this excursion. Stopping occasionally to catch my 
breath and rearrange my clothing, I d look around me. To 
the north and to my left rose Mount Zion, " beautiful for situ 
ation." To the south and my right were olive trees that on a 
pleasant day make this valley a gracious place. Out from 
under the trees came a shepherd with his goats and sheep 

scrambling after him. 

" Naharic said " (May your day be blessed) , he greeted 
us. He passed on up toward Sultan s PooL 

In imagination I was beginning to see the dire events that 
had cursed forever the valley s name. As each gust of wind 
and sand cleared away, picture after picture rose in my mem 
ory. It was in this region that the abominable rites of Baal 
were observed. Somewhere there on the rocky southern hill 
was Tophet, a " high place " where parents gave their chil 
dren as sacrifices to the god Molech. I had a good view of the 
Hill of Evil Counsel. I remembered Jephthah s lovely daugh 
ter, a reminder of a time when Hebrews practised human sac 
rifice in the worship of Jehovah. I remembered the sons of 
Ahaz and Manasseh who were made to " pass through the 
fire," burned alive in sacrifice to Molech in this valley. Micah 
proclaimed a God of righteousness among a people whom he 
saw coming before Jehovah with " burnt offerings, with calves 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 105 

a year old . . . with thousands of rams . . ." and asking, 
" Shall I give of my first-born for my transgression? " Per 
haps he had seen them doing so in Hinnom. As late as the 
seventh century, Jeremiah still could cry : 

" And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in 
the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their 
daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not/ 5 JERE 
MIAH 7: 31. 

Josiah purged the country of pagan shrines and turned the 
fires of Molech into an incinerator for Jerusalem. Dead 
bodies of animals, foul meat, and garbage were dumped into 
the pit ,to be burned. Offensive, unceremonially clean, filthy, 
not until Titus destroyed Jerusalem was the perpetual fire ex 

When between the Old and New Testaments, the Hebrews 
took over the idea of a place of eternal torment, and devel 
oped it, they decided upon this awful place, one of their own 
valleys running southwest of the Holy City. From its cere 
monial defilement, from its detested fire of Molech, from its 
supposed ever-burning funeral piles where their own fathers 
had practised human sacrifice, it became for them the dreadful 
place whose name should signify hell Gehenna (land of 
Hinnom ) . 

Jesus in telling of the fate of the wicked found no other pic 
ture so applicable to his meaning as the everlasting fires of 
Hinnom : 

" And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it 
from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members 
should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into 
hell." MATTHEW 5: 29. 

Some of the terrors of Hinnom have been overcome. My 
guide led me to an old rock surface, a sort of " high place." It 

io6 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

might easily have been an altar. At some such place as this 
Molech with his arms outstretched over an eternal fire sat 
ready to receive his victims. Where, once upon a time, human 
sacrifice was offered to gods, a fellah family makes its home 
among an aggregation of emptied gasoline tins. 

Once more I looked up at the Hill of Evil Counsel Ac 
cording to tradition, Gaiaphas possessed a country house here. 
Hither the Jews came to consult how they might put Jesus to 
death. Among an aggregation of cemeteries, my guide 
pointed out Aceldama or the " Field of Blood." This is be 
lieved to be " potter s field " which the chief priests bought 
with thirty pieces of silver returned to them by Judas, 

I visited some of the crumbling tombs, " whited sepulchres/ 
dotting the hilly southeastern banks of Hinnom, Crawling in 
to some, my candle searched out bones and skulls lying about 
in confusion. 

We went on to the junction of the Hinnom and Kidron val 
leys. We paused for some time at Job s Well or Sir Ayoub, 
as the Arabs call it. This place is thought to be En Rogel, 
where the fullers plied their trade of cleansing and whitening 
garments. I was interested in the scarp of rock here which 
appears to have been bleached by some strong solution, per 
haps the cleansing process used by the Hebrews, and whitened, 
perhaps with chalk. It bore no resemblance to the rock in 
the rest of the valley. 

I was reminded by the dreadful stench here that fullers 
were always located some distance outside a city because of 
the offensive smell of their trade. Looking about, I noted too 
that here was plenty of room for drying clothes. 

We started up the Kidron Valley in single file, picking our 
way carefully, tripping over stones. Vividly, I recalled the 
Psalmist s figure of speech when he promised: "They shall 
bear thee up ... lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." 
Below our rough track lay " king s dale." A few villagers 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 107 

were working in carefully laid-out garden plots, in terraced 
fields upheld on the hillside by walls of stones in this green 
valley which supplies Jerusalem s markets with fresh vege 

Looking ahead I saw the Kidron curving to the right 
around the great golden wall of Jerusalem. From this depth 
she seemed like a city rising out of an abyss. 

On the opposite cliff sprawled Siloam Village (Silwan), 
a mass of dirty caves, tombs, stone dwellings, and stables. It 
stretches north and south, a straggling community on the 
lower slopes of the Hill of Offense. This is the " hill that is 
before Jerusalem " or " the mount of corruption," where 
Solomon grown old and harassed by his harem allowed his 
wives to persuade him to erect heathen temples. Making 
concessions to idolatry, he thereby incurred the displeasure of 
Jehovah. Later, royal recorders in investigating causes for 
the Kingdom of Israel s downfall attributed it to this infiltra 
tion of pagan forms of worship and to Solomon s spiritual 

We turned northward into the Tyropean Valley in the 
direction of the Pool of Siloam. In America I had sung: 

" By cool Siloam s shady rill, 
How sweet the lily grows." 

It meant peace and beauty to me. I sat down on the 
masonry above the pool. It took a few moments for me to 
adjust my mental picture of this place, to which Jesus had 
sent the blind man to bathe, to the facts of reality. It was 
wet, messy, and noisy. 

The valley in which the pool lies has been filled in with 
thirty to sixty feet of debris since the beginning of the Christian 
era. Consequently, the cleared pool is far below the present 
level of the Tyropean. Stone blocks cemented into place hold 

io8 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

back the crowding earth; stone steps, at least twenty, lead 
down to the water and to the entrance to a black tunnel. 

I looked down upon a busy scene : Siloam villagers washing 
clothes in the primitive way, kneading the cloth like dough 
and rubbing the bundles on the round, flat stones in the 
water, which are relics of pillars in a fifth-century church 
which once covered the pool. The sound of gossip drifted 
up to me. I called down: "Assallam" (Peace). They 
looked up from their labors and, with grins spreading over 
their tattooed faces, returned my greeting. Their children, 
scattering glistening beads of water, scampered up to where 
I sat. This was an excellent opportunity to get " Baksheesh " 
for posing for their pictures ! 

I watched modern Rebekahs from Siloam descend the 
steps with Standard Oil cans and after filling their tins at 
the same pool where the others were washing, mount the 
steps again with the heavy tins balanced on patties of wet 
cloth on their heads. Mounting the steps as though the 
weight of these spilling tins was nothing at all a mere 
twenty or thirty pounds perhaps ! 

My thoughts went back to 701 B. a when this pool lay 
within the walls of ancient Jerusalem. 

Hezekiah was king of Judah when word was brought that 
the Assyrian was preparing to come down upon this rebellious 
people " like a wolf on the fold." Forced to contemplate a 
siege, Hezekiah strengthened first the city s defenses; but he 
was troubled by the fact that Jerusalem s only source of 
water Gihon lay outside the walls of the Old City of 
David, on an open slope of the Kidron Valley. Jerusalem 
could not long resist if her water supply was cut off by the 

"And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that 
he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, 

by Harriet -Louis r H. Patterson 

The Pool of Siloam lies outside Jerusalem s "wall in the 
Tyropean Valley. Its waters glisten in the sunshine as in 
the days when Hezekiah s workmen built a conduit from 
Gihon to Siloam and Isaiah encouraged a people terror- 
stricken by threats from Sennacherib s armies, and when 
Jesus sent the blind man here to bathe. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 109 

<c He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to 
stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city." 

II CHRONICLES 32: 2, 3. 

Gathering his people, Hezekiah put them to work cutting 
a long underground tunnel for a distance of 1750 feet through 
solid rock to carry the waters of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam 
within the city. He then sealed up the outer entrance to 
the spring so that the Assyrians could not find it. 

Isaiah was living during this dangerous time. He must 
have watched with bated breath the construction of this 
conduit which would guarantee the city s population against 
Sennacherib s armies and at the same time cut off the enemy 
from the only spring in these hills. 

Terror filled the people of Jerusalem as runners from 
distant outposts brought news of the surrender of one after 
another of the forty-six fenced cities of Judah. Feverishly the 
men must have worked, excavating from both ends. They 
had to hurry or the Assyrians would have been there before 
the tunnel was completed and Jerusalem would have been 
lost, all would have been lost. 

To whom could these anxious people turn for encourage 
ment as the " great day *of the Lord " drew momentarily 
nearer? Ever faithful Isaiah was at hand. He, who had 
rebuked Jerusalem for her sins, was waiting for her to return 
to her God. He counselled: 

" In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in 
confidence shall be your strength." ISAIAH 30: 15. 

Many times during these trying days Isaiah in comforting a 
terror-stricken people must have shouted: 

" Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: 
for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is be 
come my salvation. 

no Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of 
salvation/ ISAIAH 12: 2, 3. 

Finally, he gave them this encouragement, a message from 
their God: 

" The king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor 
shoot an arrow there, . . . 

" By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and 
shall not come into this city . . ." ISAIAH 37: 33-34. 

And then the Assyrians were at the gates, with their 
battering rams against the walls. Although for months they 
besieged Jerusalem, they could neither break down the 
strongly-fortified walls, nor starve the people, nor discover 
the city s source of water. At last they began an enforced 
retreat to Nineveh, 

I came down the steps and walked over to the tunnel, a 
black hole in the side of the hill I stepped onto a ledge 
inside the two-foot-wide entrance* My candle lit up the 
flow of water and the dark clammy walls. The marks made 
by the picks of Hezekiah s workmen were sharp and clear on 
the stone. They had worked in haste, making no effort 
about uniformity of workmanship. Some twenty-five feet 
inside, Hebrew workmen at the completion of this task 
scratched a six-line scrawling inscription describing this 
engineering feat which is mentioned three times in the Bible: 
in Second Chronicles, Second Kings, and again in the Book 
of Isaiah. This inscription which has been removed to the 
Imperial Museum at Istanbul is most notable, not only be 
cause it illuminates a rather meagre biblical account, but 
because this tablet when finally deciphered gave to the world 
the key to the ancient Hebrew language. This is the simple 
story of the triumph of Hezekiah s engineers : 

" Behold the excavation. Now this is the story of the excava- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


tion. While the excavators were lifting up the pick, each 
towards his neighbor, and while there were yet three cubits to 
excavate, then was heard the voice of one man calling to his 
neighbor, for there was excess of the rock on the right hand and 
on the left. And after that, on the day of excavating, the ex 
cavators had struck pick upon pick, one against the other, and 
the waters flowed from the spring to the pool for a distance of 
1,200 cubits, and 100 cubits was the height of the rock over the 
heads of the excavators," 

After almost three thousand years, I was watching water 
flow through this conduit from Gihon to the Pool of Siloam. 

It was with thoughts of Isaiah that I was occupied as I 
skirted the hill of Ophel and came to Gihon. Ophel has been 
so tumbled by the spade of excavators that today one finds 
little to remind him of its history as the Jebusites capital city 
or later as David s royal city. My guide pointed out ancient 
remains of city wall; wall probably from the fortifications of 
the Jebusites, but my mind was still taken up with physical 
details of Isaiah s Jerusalem that exists for the inquiring 
Bible student today its conduits and pools, the softly flowing 
waters of Siloam, its rock-hewn sepulchres dotting the barren 
Judean landscape, its fortified walls against which the Assyr 
ians cast up their mounds and brought up their battering 
rams before its gates, the crowded housetops, the Temple 
courts, and the precipitous valleys that surround it. 

We crossed over a smelly little stream that trickled along 
its rocky bed. How could the Psalmist by the wildest stretch 
of imagination have cried out about the Kidron as " a river, 
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God " ! Yet 
my guide told me that she rushes along a torrent in the early 

On the hill above us Adonijah waited one night with his 
supporters to be crowned king of Israel when they heard 
shouts coming from Gihon where Solomon s friends had 

112 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

anointed him king. I looked back. How easy it would have 
been to have heard the merry-making at Gihon that night; 
how easily I could hear the laughter of Arab women who 
were* filling their empty receptacles at the plentiful fountain 
which witnessed Solomon s coronation. 

Stopping briefly at Absalom s tomb, we went on through 
the Kidron Valley, Its gleaming crowded sepulchres re 
minded me that in this arid valley the final Judgment will 
take place, according to Jews and Moslems. We came to 
the foot of the Mount of Olives and saw the little walled 
garden of Gethsemane green and peaceful. Crossing the 
concrete bridge we began to trudge upward toward the 
Palestine Museum. It is a massive white-stone building in 
which are kept the many precious discoveries made by excava 
tors who in recent years are digging into the ancient hills of 
Palestine, which are yielding the " hidden riches of secret 

Our road now paralleled the Old Wall. Motor coaches 
speeding to Jericho and Amman whizzed by. Camel caravans 
loaded with heavy bags, led by their masters in saffron- 
colored " abbas" (cloaks), padded wearily along toward 
the Damascus Gate. 

We came within sight of that weird hill whose skull-like 
features led General Gordon to call it " Golgotha " and to 
identify it with the " Place of a Skull " mentioned in the 
Gospels. Since an ancient Jewish tomb has been excavated 
here, it has become one of Jerusalem s traditional Golgothas. 
Situated as it is at the road-junction it might have been 
chosen for executions for the sake of publicity by the Romans. 
From the distance as the light fell across this ancient stoning- 
place, which lies in full view of the City Wall, it looked 
bleak, much like everyone pictures Calvary. Which is the 
true site that covered by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
or this place? No one can be quite sure, but wherever the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 113 

crucifixion took place, it was in the open air and beneath the 
wide sky. There wasn t time to visit Gordon s Calvary this 


Instead I came one morning, pulled a bell string hanging 
outside a heavy door, and waited for the caretaker to stop 
pottering among his flowers and answer my insistent summons. 
I stepped into a restful, quiet little garden. As I stood 
among the flowers, olive trees, and vines, and looked up 
toward the green hill shaped like a skull, this place seemed 
to satisfy the gospel story. If Gordon s Calvary is authentic, 
then in the place where Jesus was crucified there is still a 

The caretaker led me along a path to the Garden Tomb. 
A low oblong door, which once possessed a " rolling stone " 
to cover the entrance, led into the sunken rock-cut chamber. 
Bending, I entered and sat down on the stone bench alongside 
one wall int^Spded for the mourners. I looked directly into 
one of the three open burial vaults hewn in the solid rock. 
Only one of these is completely finished. 

The body was supposed to have been wrapped in a wind 
ing sheet and placed on the sunken stone shelf where a body 
could rest. I could see the support for the neck and a dent 
for the head. It answers the description that it was " a 
sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before 
was laid." The caretaker stepped outside and showed me 
how it was possible for John " stooping down, and looking 
in to see the linen clothes lying " on the small shelf cut beside 
the recess where the body had lain until that morning. I 
came out of the tomb feeling that if one must see an empty 
sepulchre, then go to the Garden Tomb; it is reverent and 

I walked in perfume-scented air along the paths laid out 

1 14 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

among growing spring flowers and budding trees. I felt that 
if one must see the garden of the resurrection where, when 
the full glory of the sunrise came, a triumphant voice ex 
claimed: " He is not here. He is risen, even as he said," then 
walk in this garden. It spoke a very real message to me that 

" The earliest Easter greeting 

Was breathed on garden ground, 
Where Life and love were meeting, 

And joy and hope were found; 
And every tree and flower 

Speaks with a living voice 
Of Resurrection power, 

And bids the world rejoice! " 

*~~***TY. J\.* \jr* 

I came away thinking not of a sepulchre because the pall 
of Calvary was lifted, but of a quiet, little garden all aglow 
with resurrection symbols, I came away this bright morning 
remembering the rosemary and the rue, *jfr daisies and 
pansies, the mustard trees with their bright yellow blossoms, 
and all the other flowers with which " God writes His Easter 
story upon His world so fair/ 


The entrance to Solomon s Quarries, called by Josephus 
the " Royal Quarries," lies directly across the highway from 
Gordon s Calvary. The old Arab, who stood inside the 
entrance in a patch of daylight that came through the dilapi 
dated doorway, gave me a twisted bit of candle and a lantern 
to my guide. Together we walked off from cool shadows 
into pitch blackness. 

Our path led steeply down into an enormous cave like a 
large assembly hall. I was told that this is where visiting 
Masons congregate to hold midnight meetings because they 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 115 

believe King Solomon organized his workmen into a brother 
hood who were the first Freemasons. 

From this cleared place I noticed that corridors led off 
in many directions to lower and more distant caverns. This 
excavation in the Bezetha Quarter undermines Jerusalem for 
two hundred yards to the south and reaches out for almost 
three hundred yards. I couldn t shake off my amazement 
that pedestrians in the Old City were not aware of our 
presence in the quarry and neither were we conscious of the 
sound of the footsteps of those who were constantly moving 
over our heads. 

Chips and abandoned half-hewn stones cluttered the way 
and made walking laborious. Several times I drew back 
quickly from the edge of deep chasms. When light from the 
lantern fell against the roof, it revealed a pure white stone, 
almost giving the appearance of cotton clinging there. It is 
this resemblance which has made the Arabs call these caves 
the " Cotton Caves." A flash of the lantern or my flickering 
candle revealed signs of workmen. I could see where they 
had cut niches in the walls to hold their lamps while they 
worked; a few of these had smoked. I could see the clean, 
clear, sharp marks the Phoenician stone-cutters made when 
they removed the soft white limestone from its bed; in some 
places blocks still hung from the walls of the cave, partially 
worked. We walked on a floor of chips which they left 
behind them when the task of shaping the stones for Solomon s 
Temple some three thousand years ago was finished. If I had 
not known the story of how this quarry had been lost to the 
world for so long while the source of the stone used in the 
Temple remained a secret until about eighty-five years ago 
and then discovered only by accident one day, I should have 
believed I was visiting a modern quarry whose workmen had 
quit for the day. There seemed nothing about it to suggest 
an abandoned place. 

n6 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

One method of quarrying here was to use wooden, water- 
soaked wedges, allowing the water to stand in the crevice and 
loosen the stone without the sound of chisel or hammer. Then 
it was passed to masons to be shaped and smoothed. It went 
straight from here ready to take its place in the Temple 
building. On another visit I watched Arabs using this method 
as they obtained stone to shape into souvenirs triangles and 
keystones and gavels for tourists. 

A puzzling verse of Scripture in connection with the extra 
ordinarily detailed account of the building of the Temple took 
on meaning for me. Verse seven in First Kings, Chapter 
6 says: 

" And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone 
made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was 
neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the 
house, while it was in building." 

The ring of tools in these corridors woijM never have 
reached the Temple area. I was quite convfiKed of it after 
Arab workmen had shown me how workmen of Hiram and 
his principal architect Hiram had labored cutting stone in 
Solomon s day. 

The afternoon sun was almost gone when I left the Quarry. 
Camels lay alongside the Old Wall near the low iron door, 
their long legs folded comfortably about them. The drivers 
squatted in the cool, dusty shadows. Out of the Damascus 
Gate came a shepherd and his flock of sheep. My road fol 
lowing the Wall dipped and turned to Jaffa Gate. 


/ spend a morning on the Mount of Olives climbing the Rus 
sian Tower s 214 steps -for a view of the Judean Wilderness and 
Moab, visiting the Chapel of the Ascension, and the Church of 
the Lord s Prayer. I talk with a nun at the Russian Church and 
am given a bouquet of rosemary, I tarry in the Garden of 
Gethsemane. The night before I leave Jerusalem, I return to 
Olivet and spend an hour under a sky spangled with stars and 
walk beneath olive trees whose " little gray leaves were kind to 

BEFORE Jerusalem on east, across the Kidron Valley r 
there is a green hill far away, beyond the City Wall, 
which makes the same curved, graceful line against the sky, 
which has the same zigzag path up its slopes leading over 
the hill "out as far as unto Bethany, 5 and at whose base 
there lies a garden, the garden, so the Fathers say. All as it 
must have been nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus 
roamed this countryside at will. 

My second morning in Jerusalem, I hurried alone, a pil 
grim, to the Mount of Olives. I carried a New Testament to 
read again the Passion Week narratives in their setting. I 
chose the route to the top of Olivet that I might descend from 
the summit to the garden, the little garden where Jesus 
triumphed through prayer, because I felt that here amidst 
these stony paths that twist and zigzag I could follow in his 

As I stood on the height, Zechariah s prophecy and location 
of this site, " His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount 
of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east/ 3 echoed in 
my heart. 


n8 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Entering the garden of the Russian compound, a nun came 
forward with a large key to open the tower door. Then she 
left me to slowly climb the narrow, winding staircase. There 
was no one eke about; no one to hurry me. There were no 
harsh noises, only the singing of the birds. I was alone but 
not lonely. Full of keen anticipation, I stepped up the 21 4th 
step of the tower, yet I was wholly unprepared for the spread 
ing panorama before me. This was my first glimpse of the 
Jordan Valley. Straight down to the east I gazed into a 
world of silent, brown, domed hills, savage in appearance, 
bare of any vegetation. Farther in the distance I saw a 
streak of startling blue which marked the waters of the 
Jordan and the Dead Sea, and beyond them a long, misty 
barrier of violet hills., the hills of Moab. How close they 
seemed! This was a view that Jesus knew! This was the 
view he sought when he came over the road fronT Bethany 
. * . this sky, these hills, these stony valleys, and yonder 
Jordan s banks. 

How often sad thoughts crowd in with happiness and make 
the two seem one. The pious, reverent visitor to the Mount 
of Olives will often find the tears welling at the game time 
his heart is singing a noble tune. So, I dreamed in the 
pregnant stillness of Moses as I gazed on that violet wall, 

" By Nebo s lonely mountain, 

On that side of Jordan s wave, 
In a vale in the land of Moab, 
There lies a lonely grave." 

From the lofty Russian Tower set amid the cypress 
trees, the crown of Olivet, I walked down a stony lane into 
the very center of a tiny Arab village, Kafr et Tur. By this 
time I had a self-appointed guide. Here he left me to go to 
tell his wife, or so he said, that he had found a lady on the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 119 

mountain and would be late getting home to dinner. Peculiar, 
isn t it, how such homely, ordinary things of life can crowd 
in upon this hill which lives mostly in the imaginations of 
men? Somehow at home in America I had never thought of 
really poor people, concerned with the business of daily 
living, dwelling on this mountain so rich in memories. 

As he disappeared into an alley, I went on to the Chapel 
of the Ascension, accepted by the Occidental as the site of 
the ascension, notwithstanding that Luke says, " He led them 
out as far as unto Bethany." Yet here is the traditional site. 
Eusebius mentions its popularity among pilgrims. In 351 
A. D. Constantine built here a roofless, round chapel. The 
present domed, octagonal building set in a paved court is 
owned by the Moslems, who revere the Christians 5 Jesus, too. 

What had I come to see? A venerated slab of marble within 
the chapel which shows the impression of a right foot, the 
right foot of Jesus, so they say. I didn t remain here long. 
Somehow I didn t feel his presence among these white build 
ings. So, out into the sunshine, out into the clear, refreshing 
air, listening to the singing of the birds, I continued down a 
stony road with grey-green olives to my right. And other 
verses came to me from the Bible : 

" And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain 
place . . , one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to 

P ra 7 ~ -r, 

" And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father 

which art in heaven . . ." LUKE u : i, 2. 

Until now I should have preferred to have these simple, 
trusting words in the out-of-doors of Palestine, upon this 
flowered hill fragrant with the smell of waking earth, with 
only the birds singing in delirious ecstasy and the whispers 
of olive trees moving in the slight breeze to break its early 
morning stillness, but there is the inevitable church here, of 

120 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

course, to mark where Jesus taught his disciples to pray. The 
Church of the Pater Noster is not a disturbing place. In its 
hushed courtyard his followers have placed thirty-two tablets 
containing the Lord s Prayer in as many different languages. 

This particular day two German lads stood before the 
German tablet; I stood before the English version; my Arab 
guide looked up at the Arabic. I knew the precious words 
by heart and my lips formed them soundlessly again. German, 
American, and Arab, we stood all one for a time before his 
prayer. I remembered later that we whispered and tiptoed 
out together. 

By the way that Jesus might have walked down the 
mountain on fragrant spring mornings and again during 
Passion Week, by the route which is called in Palestine 
" Hosanna Road," I continued. My heart was singing : 

" Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you : not as 
the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be 
troubled, neither let it be afraid." JOHN 14: 27. 

How lovely, I kept thinking to myself, that the Mount of 
Olives is not completely built up. All along the right side of 
the slope are olive trees which name it, while at their trunks 
grow in profusion the red anemones, " the lilies of the field," 
and the sheep wander here and there reminiscent of the days 
when this land was truly a pastoral country. Along this 
hillside pious fathers and nuns have, together with their other 
work, managed to plan and tend gardens, places of refuge 
from the relentless stones of the twisting footpath. These 
oases bespeak the infinite patience of saintly people who from 
the chalky limestone ground have brought forth " a thing of 

Into almost a bit of heaven I wandered this spring day, 
into" the most luxuriant greens, stately cypresses, tall cedars, 
flowering shrubs, and beds of old-fashioned pinks, purples, 


** *S 

1^-! 2 
6 - e -a J 


o . 
-5 ** w 

{ M PP 

5 5 



< A 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 121 

and forget-me-nots. Around and about them all was a 
mossy green grass. I was in the garden of the Russian Church 
of Mary Magdalene, a beautiful structure erected by Czar 
Alexander III. It stands with its glittering domes, upturned 
like golden turnips, just above Gethsemane. Some say that 
this garden was part of the original garden. We don t know. 

A nun, exiled from Russia, greeted me. She had known 
keen mental suffering and yet her face bespoke the peace of 
a conquered fear. We spoke of her motherland. I said how 
sad it was that Russia had sold herself for " a mess of pot 
tage " since the worship of the One, Universal God seems 
today to have so little share in its people s lives. Her face 
lighted and she said : " Never say that again, never give it the 
power . . . there is no place where God is not and He lives 
in the hearts of all Russians; He is with them." 

Exiled from her homeland but loving it, she had come to 
have faith in that country s religious future even while she 
toiled an alien in Palestine. We talked and talked. In the 
pauses I thought perhaps Paul s words written to the church 
at Philippi, which was begun with a nucleus of worshipping 
women converted to Christianity by him on the Philippian 
water-front, were sounding down the ages of womanhood to 
us, two women in a garden. Paul had written to them: " The 
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your 
hearts and mind through Jesus Christ." Does it mean that 
peace must start and thrive in the hearts of men who would 
rather love than hate, rather give than possess? So it seemed 
that morning on Olivet. 

As I was leaving with her words and Paul s echoing in my 
ears, she walked to the gate of the garden. She stooped to 
pick a bouquet of rosemary from " a bed of spice." 

" For remembrance," she said, handing it to me. 

Yes, of " peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto 
you . . ," 

122 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


There is a place on this hill \vhere " when he drew nigh, 
he saw the city and wept over it." What did he see? A great 
city enclosed within walls of cyclopean masonry; a mass of 
tortuous, twisting streets just as I have seen it. In Jesus 5 day, 
two thousand years ago, perhaps there was more contrast 
between the houses of the poor and the marble houses of the 
rich than there is today. Jesus gazed upon the palaces of the 
Maccabees, of Caiaphas, and of Herod. These are no more. 
He saw the sinister Tower of Antonia, the Praetorium, which 
sheltered the Roman garrison within the city, and which is 
pointed out to visitors. He saw a gleaming gold and white 
Temple crowning them all where I have seen only the 
Moslem shrine, the Dome of the Rock. To the right and to 
the north of the fortified walls he saw as I have those " hills 
round about Jerusalem " of which the Psalmist sang. 


I came to the foot of the mount, and there was the 
Garden of Gethsemane. In the center of the retreat and not 
far from a near-by church stands one gnarled, old olive 
tree. It is at least nine hundred years old since these eight 
trees in this garden have never paid the taxes assessed on 
such trees in Palestine. Some religious believe it stood among 
the seven others when Jesus prayed here nineteen hundred 
years ago on Thursday of the Passion Week. Around the 
trunks of the venerable trees the Franciscans tend their flower 
beds and from them pluck a leaf or a pretty posy for the 
pilgrim s hand. The simple gesture is not so much as a 
reminder of this specific garden, as some pilgrims believe, 
but a reminder of what Gethsemane meant in the life of the 

" Tarry ye here and watch," the Garden invited me as 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 123 

Jesus had earlier bidden his followers. I sat down to watch 
an old monk as he moved from flower bed to flower bed 
among the ancient olive trees, seeming to touch everything 
with beauty and reverence. I heard in the stillness the thrill 
ing, trilling songs of warblers, the drone of bees over flowers, 
much as Jesus must have heard them long ago, I understood 
somewhat in the golden silence, pure air, and springtime 
fragrance why the man came to this hillside so often and why 
he sought this Garden; and watching, I felt truly that time 
has not altered the Garden ... its healing, its peace are 
still here. 

I raised my eyes and looked west. I beheld a long slope 
covered with the debris of centuries, thick with tombstones. 
I saw the high fortifying wall of the Holy City with the 
massive, closed Golden Gate separating today as yesterday the 
city s noise and confusion from the absolute peace and quiet 
of this almost paradise. I saw the ethereal blue lead dome 
of the Moslem shrine as it rises above the gigantic wall under 
a blaze of Syrian sun. Its windows remarkable for their 
delicate tracery and brilliancy of coloring, its octagonal walls 
decorated with colored, glazed tiles blotted from view by the 
encircling, protecting masonry. In fulfilled prophecy a 
voice seemed to echo from the past: " The days will come, in 
the which there shall not be left one stone upon another . . ." 
The Dome of the Rock stands where once stood Solomon s 
Temple, Zerubbabel s Temple, and Herod s magnificent 
shrine for the Jews about which Jesus had spoken those words. 

I left the Mount of Olives and walked back up the dusty- 
road to Jerusalem. The noonday sun burned above the city. 


I came again to the Mount of Olives one midnight, the 
night before I left Jerusalem. There was a new moon in the 
deep midnight-blue sky; the myriad stars hung like God s 

124 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

own lanterns from the heavens, their rays came down like 
fine-spun golden threads to earth. Twinkle, twinkle came 
and went the lights within the close-packed Holy City yonder. 
Barely discernible were a church spire, a minaret, and the 
rounded domes of El Aksa and the Dome of the Rock. The 
massive, irregular walls loomed dark and forbidding beyond 
the starlit valley of the Kidron. Only the sighing of the old 
olive trees broke the hushed silence of the night as if they 
still kept watch in Nature s way as once they watched while 
others slept on a night long years ago. In 

" the silver green of olive sheen 
Oh, can my soul forget " 

that on Thursday evening in the year 30 A. D. Jesus came 
with his disciples into Gethsemane ("oil-press") and said, 
" My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death: abide ye 
here and watch " ? And I remembered that Jesus went for 
ward a little, " a stone s cast," says Luke the historian, to be 
accurate. He wanted to be alone and yet not quite alone. 
Still he wanted the nearness of three: the most strong, the 
most faithful, the most loving; these three, Peter, James, and 
John. In the dead, sensitive stillness of Gethsemane did they 
hear his voice as it opened its healing prayer and prayed, 
"Abba, Father . . ." ? 

Jesus came over the Brook Kidron with the disciples into 
this place where there was a garden lighted by stars even as 
now. He, too, watched the lights that twinkled within the 
festive city ready for the Passover. Here beneath olive trees 
like these, he walked alone with God. Remembering again, 
time seemed suspended and I whispered: 

" Into the woods my Master went, 
Glean forspent, forspent. 
Into the woods my Master came, 
Forspent with love and shame. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 125 

But the olives they were not blind to Him, 
The little gray leaves were kind to Him, 
The thorn-tree had a mind to Him, 
When into the woods He came. 

" Out of the woods my Master went, 
And He was well content. 
Out of the woods my Master came, 
Content with love and shame. * 
When Death and Shame would woo Him last, 
From under the trees they drew Him last: 
Twas on a tree they slew Him last 
When out of the woods He came." 


Copyright, Charles Scribners. 


/ spend Sunday at Hebron, City of " the friend of God! 3 En 
route I visit Solomon s Pools and Ortus. I discover that Hebron s 
ff welcoming committee " is not out to greet me but the survivors 
of the "Haj." Children bother me at the Mosque. A potter s 
open door invites me to " Look "; a glass factory solves the mys 
tery of Palestine s source of " evil eye" beads. In ff the heat of 
the day/ I walk through extensive vineyard country and rest 
near the ancient oak at Mamre. 

IT was about nine o clock on a beautifully bright, sun 
shiny Sunday morning that I set out from Jaffa Gate in 
Jerusalem for Hebron, city of "the friend of God." Va 
grant cottony clouds floated in a brilliantly blue sky. In an 
swer to my exclamation of delight at the wondrous beauty of 
this morning world, Jacob replied that I should see the skies 

in the summertime. 

Jacob Nusaibeh is the son of a prominent old Moslem fam 
ily in Jerusalem. He had agreed to show me the countryside 
where Abraham had dwelt for a time, where he had built an 
altar after Jehovah had commanded him to leave his country 
and go into a land which he would give to him, and where he 
now lies buried. Since I was now journeying to a real Mos 
lem community, Jacob informed me that Moslems are not 
worshippers of Mohammed but that all true Moslems worship 
Allah (God) and that Mohammed is but His prophet. So 
with that bit of religious instruction we went on. 


Not far from Jaffa Gate we passed Animal s Market Pool, 
which in the springtime is a pool of very dirty water, far too 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 127 

filthy to have so near a large city. Here the natives bring 
their animals on Fridays to clean and sell them. We passed 
by the beautiful Scottish Church and then were out into the 
Judean hills. Busses marked " Bethlehem-Hebron " sped by 
in both directions. The road itself is not rough, but it winds 
in and out among these striking hills. The sides of the road 
are built up with stone fences, the rocks for them having been 
procured from the adjoining fields. In springtime these hills 
immediately out of Jerusalem are grassy but in places enor 
mous bare, harsh spots suddenly show. These are stones! 
Their coloring may be white, sometimes cream, occasionally a 
soft brown; they blend into the wild greenness almost like a 
patterned green paisley. 

Herds of black goats and flocks of sheep branded with 
henna grazed quietly that morning in near-by fields or else 
stampeded either up or down along the motor road as our 
honking car flashed through their ranks. A few donkeys here 
and there unequally yoked together with camels plowed in 
the ancient manner, with only a stick of wood to upturn this 
stubborn, rocky soil belonging to Arabs. The patches of cul 
tivated land are small and so divided as to show distinctly the 
boundaries of various landowners. Stumps of oak trees 

abound along here, the oaks having been cut down during the 
World War I, the stumps having never been blasted from 
their bed. Life is still evident because every spring tender 
green shoots push forth from the neglected stumps of trees 
and they look instead like enormous flourishing bushes. 


We came into the Rephaim Plain, situated in a beautiful 
valley, with memories that this was the place where the Phi 
listines encamped twice against David who had surprised 
them once by having himself proclaimed king over Israel and 
a second time by securing Jebus as a site for his capital city. 

128 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

The Old Testament records that word filtered through to 
the enemy, the Philistines, but the one-time friends of David, 
that surprisingly enough David had been anointed king over 
Israel and Judah after a separation of the two Hebrew king 
doms for seven years following upon the death of Saul at 
Gilboa. The Philistines came and encamped at Rephaim, 
Meanwhile, David inquired of Jehovah if he should go up 
against them. Jehovah answered, " Yes," It was in despera 
tion that the enemy finally fled from before David s armies 
and in their haste left behind them their images. David was 
victorious. But once again the Philistines encamped at 
Rephaim. Again, David, exponent of theocratic rule in gov 
ernment, obediently inquired of Jehovah how to conduct the 
second campaign. Listening to the voice of Jehovah, David 
followed His directions. And the second time the Philistines 
were defeated on this historic plain. Very much earlier than 
this in Israel s fortunes the Plain of Rephaim marked the 
boundary between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of 


Not far from here the road branches into two. The upper 
is the road to Bethlehem. From this fork in the road we 
chose the lower highway and continued on to Hebron. Beth 
lehem would wait for another day. 

Through wild country now and brilliant sunshine, we hur 
ried on. With a turn in the road suddenly we saw an old 
khan, a square building erected centuries ago to protect 
travellers at night from marauding Bedouin bands. Once 
upon a time, long before the days of swift-travelling motor 
cars which accomplish these twenty miles in much less than 
an hour, it was a convenient stop for merchants and others on 
their way from Hebron to market in Jerusalem. They would 
spend the night here in safety and then starting out before 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 129 

sunrise reach the great city in time for market. Likewise, on 
their return home, they would reach its massive walls of 
safety before sunset. 

Walking behind the khan, I saw three large reservoirs. 
Jacob said that these were erroneously called " Solomon s 
Pools " since in reality they had been built by Pontius Pilate 
in an effort to supply Jerusalem with much needed water in 
this " dry and thirsty land." The restless Jews reported him 
to Caligula in Rome and Pontius Pilate was punished. 
Through the years since Jerusalem has had to depend upon 
these pools and her own cisterns for her meagre water supply 
until just recently when pipe lines were laid from Jaffa to 
Jerusalem. These latter now supply the " city set upon a 
hill " adequately with pure, fresh water. 

The name of this lovely place where we stopped briefly is 
Ortus, meaning " garden." The name fits this fertile, luscious 
green valley with its luxuriant trees and flourishing green 
grass which is like a velvet carpet spread beneath a canopy of 
blue. Ortus is made vivid and beautiful with pheasant s eye, 
cyclamen, anemones, soapwort, and pimpernels. 

It is quite possible that Solomon s gardens used to be here 
and that Ortus once was Etam. Possibly, I reminded myself, 
Solomon was recalling Etam when he sang: 

" I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me 
vineyards : 

" I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in 
them of all kind of fruits : 

" I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that 
bringeth forth trees." ECCLESIASTES 2 : 4-6. 

Some authorities believe the scenes in the Song of Solomon 
are laid in these gardens whose plants were once " beds of 
spices and orchards of pomegranates with pleasant fruits." 

130 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


Only a short distance from Castle by the Pools as the an 
cient khan is now called we came to a pile of tawny, natural 
rock. At one side of it grew a number of tall cypress trees. 
Glancing ahead to them it seemed to me as if they might be 
sentinels to guard a precious site. I was not wrong. Jacob 
explained as we drew nearer and stopped that this is where 
tradition says Philip the evangelist met, converted, and bap 
tized the eunuch from the court of Candace, Queen of Ethi 
opia, who was earnestly reading from the prophet Isaiah but 
couldn t understand a difficult passage. The eunuch was on 
his way to Egypt; Philip had been bidden to go to Gaza; both 
were travelling the ancient caravan route which led from the 
East through Gaza and across sand-strewn trails to end in 
Egypt; we were travelling on that same historic route only 
as far as Hebron this day. Philip overtook him, explained 
Isaiah, Chapter 53, in the light of the gospel message and 
the sufferings of Jesus. Accepting Philip s ready explanation 
and understanding it, the eunuch became one of the few in 
dividuals in the New Testament the process of whose conver 
sion is recorded. Here an individual s life began to take on 
new meaning, new purpose, new aspirations as the Christ sud 
denly laid hold upon him, as he confessed: " I believe that 
Jesus Christ is the Son of God/ 5 and then he continued on 
his way rejoicing. 


Somewhere near to the right of the road is the Plain of 
Mamre, but as we had planned that day to visit it on our re 
turn from Hebron, I shall not pause here to recall its history. 

We came into the vineyard district. This section of Pales 
tine has been noted always for its grapes. Tradition claims 
and it is believed as true that Joshua and Caleb came as far 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 131 

as here when they spied out the Promised Land for Moses in 
1400 B. c. They returned, I remembered as I gazed on these 
vineyards, with cc one cluster of grapes, and they bare it be 
tween two upon a staff." It certainly isn t hard to believe 
tradition here after seeing this countryside around Hebron; 
the hills are striped with terraces of vines,, olives, and figs. At 
the spring season the vines are not in bud yet and on this 
spring day the small branches stuck up out of the ground or 
lay upon it like black snakes because the Palestine husband 
man never poles his vines or attaches them to trellis as we do 
in America until they begin to leaf. 

Soon we saw some modern residences, comfortable, clean- 
looking, stone-built houses and a few domes glistening in the 
sun. We were approaching Hebron, a well-known city in 
even Abraham s time as early as 2000 B. c. and still an im 
portant city when it served as David s capital when he was 
king of Judah. In age it rivals Damascus, being close to four 
thousand years old in recorded history. From Hebron Joseph 
set out to seek his brothers in Shechem, and to Hebron those 
same brothers returned carrying a blood-stained coat of many 
colors to a father who mourned many days for his beloved 
son. Absalom, David s favorite son, was born here. At the 
gates of Hebron Abner treacherously killed Joab and paved 
the way for his master to be king of Israel. Hither came re 
bellious Absalom under pretext of performing a vow and from 
here sent spies through all the tribes of Israel saying, " As soon 
as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, 
Absalom reigneth in Hebron." Later it was fortified by 
Rehoboam and was repeopled at the end of the Captivity. It 
belonged for a time to the Edomites, was recaptured by 
Judas Maccabeus, became later a town of Idumea, and 
finally was destroyed by the Romans. Today its population 
is chiefly Arabic and Moslem. Only a few Jews dare to live 
among these fanatics, who so often give vent to their feelings 

132 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

in riots, outbreaks, and killings. Hebronites seem to resent 
outsiders poking around their town. In subsequent visits to 
Hebron, I have seen them stone tourists automobiles, harass 
sight-seers by begging persistently for " Baksheesh " and gen 
erally make nuisances of themselves. 

Quite by accident I seem to have an antidote for their 
cantankerous ways. On a later visit the children were being 
unusually bothersome, chattering like a swarm of magpies, 
and hindering my progress in taking some good exterior 
" shots " of the mosque, when quite unconsciously I let out a 
" SH . . . U . . . U . . . U . . . S . . ; S . . . SH! " The ex 
treme silence which followed my explosion caused me to look 
up and around me to see some of these awful, dirty children 
cowering, some of them slinking away with backward looks, 
and some of them absolutely respectful. I have no idea what 
soever what this noise on my part conveyed to them but it had 
its effect. Now when I go to Hebron I have quite a peaceful 
time with the pestering children since I know that I have a 
remedy which has never failed me in an emergency here. 

This particular day children lined the stone road walls; 
women clothed all in black* with the exception of white head 
cloths, wearing "mandeels" (face veils) either of figured or 
heavy black cloth, sauntered through the streets or stood gos 
siping in groups. It seemed to me unusual that all the town 
was out to welcome us. I needn t have disturbed myself for 
none of this was in our honor at all! It developed that this 
was the day scheduled for the return of pilgrims from Mecca. 
These stay-at-homes were lined up or standing in groups 
waiting to greet the survivors of the " Haj." The pilgrimage 
to Mecca is a long, arduous one even in the twentieth century. 
Formerly in the days of the Turks and even later during the 
regime of King Hussein many pilgrims never survived the 
rigors of the long trip nor returned alive to their loved ones; 
however, under King Ibn Saud the dangers of the pilgrimages 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 133 

have been lessened, the hardships and privations become less 


We went on into Hebron. Leaving the car and by 
walking but a short distance, we came to the Haram el 
Khalil. The Mosque is built over the Cave of Machpelah 
where an old shepherd lies, who pitched his tent here more 
than four thousand years ago, a pilgrim in a land where he 
was known as " the friend " El Khalil. It ranks among the 
holiest of Islam s mosques. But Jew and Christian regard the 

tomb as holy and dear. 

With some of the town s children who had trooped per 
sistently through the narrow streets at my heels, I had my pic 
ture taken on the steps to the southern entrance to the huge 
building. The Mosque is strong and fortified-looking like 
the walls about Jerusalem. Just inside the entrance non- 
Moslems are permitted to approach just seven steps unless they 
receive special permission before leaving the Holy City. Pious 
Jews, since Jews revere the cave as the burial place of the 
patriarchs and their wives, are permitted to go inside and up 
the seven steps on Fridays only. Here at this time in the 
cracks of the large building stones they can insert written pe 
titions to Jehovah or mourn as they have done for about five 
hundred years or imprint kisses on the ancient stones. It re 
minds one of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Mosque 
at Hebron is perhaps one place iix Palestine which Moslem, 
Jew, and Christian regard with equal affection. 


Sarah died in Hebron and Abraham had no grave in which 
to bury her, yet he felt that she should rest in the soil that 
was to be Israel s. And so he went to the Canaanites, who 
recognized him as a prince among them, and asked to buy 
" the cave of Machpelah " and the field in which it was situ 
ated from Ephron. After a delightful bit of Eastern bar- 

134 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

gaining, the seller pretending to care nothing for the price 
but skillfully indicating what he should expect its worth 
being four hundred shekels of silver Abraham paid and pos 
sessed the coveted plot of ground. " And after this, Abraham 
buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah 
before Manure." When he passed on, he was buried in the 
cave beside Sarah his wife. In time there were laid in the 
family vault Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah. Cenotaphs 
directly over these graves can be seen inside the Mosque, but 
there is no entrance to the sealed cave itself. 


I stopped within the town to look into a dark interior be 
cause the wares upon display before an open door beckoned 
to me to " Look." I was glad that I had because almost im 
mediately a few verses from the Book of Jeremiah came alive: 

"Arise, and go down to the potter s house, and there I will 
cause thee to hear my words.- 

" Then I went down to the potter s house, and, behold, he 
wrought a work on the wheels. 

" And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand 
of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed 
good to the potter to make it. 

" Behold, as the clay is in the potter s hand, so are ye in mine 
hand, O house of Israel." JEREMIAH 18: 2-4, 6. 

Upon a swiftly revolving wheel which he turned deftly with 
a foot treadle, the potter plumped another lump of soft, wet 
clay; under the manipulations of his supple fingers this 
Hebron potter brought forth for my delight graceful jugs, 
useful lamps, long-necked water bottles, and a " potter s 
earthen bottle." Occasionally a delicate shape " was marred 
in the hand of the potter so he made it again another vessel." 
All sooner or later found themselves carried wet from this 
dark interior out into the glaring hot sun where " Sol " dried 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 135 

them thoroughly for market. I purchased a reproduction of 
an " Abraham " lamp for the huge sum of two cents. It holds 
a few drops of oil and with a cotton wick gives forth a very 
feeble flicker of light. Reliable persons assured me later that 
in humble homes lamps like these are still in use to ward off 
the " evil eye " at night but before the first World War 
lamps like these were used in many Palestine homes where the 
inhabitants did not retire immediately upon nightfall. 

Not far from the potter s are the ancient bazaars which 
date from the days of the Crusaders in Palestine. They are 
easily recognizable as Crusader remains because they are built 
on the plan of the cross. Here we saw men preparing hides 
for market. There is little to tempt visitors in Hebron s 
bazaars; the spices perhaps send forth the most tantalizing 
aromas and make one s thoughts begin to dream of even 
farther away lands in the East than this one. 

There is an industry, which is peculiarly Hebron, and 
which every visitor to Hebron ought to visit. Far more fasci 
nating than a visit to the Mosque is a visit to the glass factory, 
which turns out the most exquisite, fragile finger bowls, sau 
cers, dainty pitchers, glass rings for bracelets, beads, a varied 
assortment of bottles all in a rare shade of blue. 

This industry is a hold-over from the Phoenician glass- 
blower period which flourished on the seaboard. Two 
Hebron families now hold the secret for making this rare glass 
which is in demand the world over by Moslems. One some 
times wonders while travelling the Holy Land where all the 
blue " evil eye " beads could possibly come from which adorn 
the necks of donkeys and camels, radiator caps of automobiles, 
and even the caps of infants. The answer is Hebron, from 
these two small factories which make beads in all sizes ranging 
from very tiny ones to great large ones almost the size of a 
half dollar. They may be in the form of a camel s eyes, a 
cock s eyes, or the hand of Fatima. 

136 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


Through a silent countryside of beautiful and extensive 
vineyards we walked along a stony footpath toward Mamre 
to visit the venerable oak tree, the traditional site of where 
Abraham entertained three angel visitants, A mile away, it 
was a long warm tramp as the sun rose steadily higher in 
this radiant spring sky. Occasionally a flock of fat-tailed 
sheep and a few silky black goats quietly passed us, urged 
along by a strong, patient voice who gave us no other notice 
than a brief "Assallam" (Peace). Joyous, singing birds 
circling above us, lightly resting for brief moments on bushes 
and trees and then swiftly winging off again, carried us along 
on wings of thrilling music. Hovering over buttercups, pop 
pies, and anemones, the droning of bees seemed praise as if 
it struck a sincere hymnal chord in all this solitude and 
peace. I seemed to " breathe the breath of beauty more than 


At last we came to an entrance, an opening in the stone 
fence that had lined the right side of the road for some dis 
tance. The open gate invited us to come through and try the 
deserted lane leading to the venerable oak standing lonely 
and remote on the slight hill beyond. 

We came up to the oak at Mamre detached from the 
cypress trees which keep vigil here and from the hospice 
buildings which hover over the historic scene by a high, 
square wire fence. And, as I rested beneath the old tree s 
frail leafy shadows, I opened the Bible and read a chapter 
of Genesis. 

" And he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 

" And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood 
by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the 
tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 137 

c: And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, 
pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 

" Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your 
feet, and rest yourselves under the tree : 

"And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your 
hearts; and after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come 
to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said." 

GENESIS 18: 1-5. 

With memories revived, I wondered if the angelic visit 
might not have happened on such a perfect day as this one 
when the whole earth seemed full of His glory. Surely it 
must have been amid such peace as this that Abraham enter 
tained his guests and was later rewarded for his hospitality 
and faith with a promise of an heir. With my imagination 
free to roam at will in " the heat of the day " and the peace 
of this ancient countryside, I seemed to see Abraham in the 
door of his -black goat-haired tent sighting his visitors in the 
distance, stretching forth his hand, and then bowing himself 
low in Oriental greeting, and saying, " Assallam aleitkum " 
.(Peace be with thee), as they approached the tent from the 
rear. I could see him offering his guests food in the spacious 
men s quarters of the tent. It had been hastily prepared by 
Sarah and her maids. It seemed as if I could hear Sarah s 
laugh as she hovered near-by in the women s quarters and 
overheard the astounding news " thy wife shall have a son. 35 
Then I saw Abraham standing forth to bid the visitors good 
bye, and Sarah standing a discreet distance behind her hus 
band in the shelter of the tent. I saw Abraham start forth 
from the tent door to "bring them on the way" toward 

I thought on this man who went out from his own com 
fortable surroundings into a country which he had never seen, 
following an inward moving, a voice, which urged, " Get 
thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy 

138 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

father s house, unto a land that I will shew thee." A divine 
urge awakened in him; listening and following it without 
question for the unknown future nor regret for the comfort 
of the known past, Abraham went out to seek what he was 
pleased to call " the land of promise/ 3 It became for him not 
only a pioneering into a new world of ideas, experiences, and 
friends, but a venturing into a wider spiritual realm. He 
came into Canaan and there he lived the remainder of his 
natural life. Never much of a material success nor con 
spicuous for his worldly possessions beyond his flocks and 
herds, the only earthly land he possessed at his death was a 
field and a cave that he had bought for a burial plot. He had 
come to " the land of promise," he had lived here, he died 
here; and not in any obvious way did he come to possess the 
land. But he came in time to have a far surer and more valu 
able possession than lands or houses or silver. He possessed 
" a conviction of things not seen/ 5 Throughout his repeated 
tests and trials he did not hesitate for lack of faith in God, be 
cause he was fully confident that what Jehovah promised He 
was able to perform and when tried his faith supported him. 
Leaving Ur, Abraham did not need to know where his 
path led, he did not have to see the end before the beginning, 
because " by faith " he knew that beside him and around him 
was God. He sought a " promised land " and he took up a 
sure abode first in a land of the Spirit, bounded by truth, 
righteousness, honor, and faith, the chief city of which is in 
visible and eternal, and " hath foundations whose builder and 
maker is God/ 5 Abraham won a spiritual victory and God s 
approval while yet he sojourned a pilgrim and a stranger in 
Canaan " as in a foreign country." 


From the oak at Mamre, we crossed country and by walk 
ing a considerable distance came at last to the main highway 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 139 

between Jerusalem and Hebron. Almost simultaneously with 
our appearance a great commotion began, such shouting, such 
wailing! The pilgrims from Mecca were returning and the 
people were still here waiting to welcome them. It startled 
me back from the twentieth century B. c. to the twentieth 
century A- D. I was no longer visiting Abraham and his 
blessed wife Sarah. 

The Hebronites could not contain themselves in their ex 
citement. The pilgrims kissed the unfortunate ones, the stay- 
at-homes, many of whom would never in their lifetime have 
sufficient money to make the coveted journey to their Holy 

City. The pilgrims were venerable old men, patriarchs in the 
town, holy men now; they wore a bit of green to prove that 
they had been to Mecca, were now the privileged ones in the 
community. There seemed no notes of envy in that shouting, 
crying mob. They were simply expressing uncontrolled joy 
over the fact that some of their number had lived to see the 
day of which they all had dreamed practically all their lives, 
when the fulfillment of a life ambition, the pilgrimage to 
Mecca, was " fait accompli/ 

I, too, had had a dream fulfilled. But I am a product of 
a different civilization since I come from a world of controlled 
emotions. In contrast to the Hebronites my fulfilled dream 
to walk hand-in-hand with the patriarch along his highways 
and to see the countryside in which Abraham had lived " as a 
dweller in tents" while patiently, faithfully, and obediently 
he looked forward to and prepared to live in the " city which 
hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, 35 made me 
very quiet, very humble, wholly at peace with the world. 
" Faith is rewarded according to faith " hummed the wheels 
of the motor car over and over as we rolled faster and faster 
back toward Jerusalem. 


/ speed by automobile from Jerusalem s golden wall via the 
Plain of Rephaim, Rachel s Tomb, Well of the Magi, and 
Shepherds Field to Bethlehem. As in the time of Boat and 
David the people are still farmers and shepherds. Bethlehem 
women have a distinctive costume. Crowds jostle at sheep mar 
ket on Saturday morning; markets and houses are no different in 
2000 years. Religion is still the inhabitants chief interest. The 
story of the first Christmas unfolds itself against the historic 
background of the Church of the Nativity. I watch a fe stranger 
star " above Bethlehem at midnight. I ride a bus to the Shep 
herds 3 Village. 

" How far is it .to Bethlehem? 

Not very far. 
Shall we find the stable-room 

Lit by a star? 
Can we see the little child, 

Is he within? 
If we lift the wooden latch 
May we go in? 


THE road from Jerusalem s golden wall beneath a blue 
sky is like any other road covered with a fine dust of lime 
stone; stone walls lie on either side and beyond them are 
orchards of gnarled olive trees. There is nothing to mark 
this as any different from any other road in the whole of 
Palestine, yet there is ONE thing. IT IS THE ROAD TO 

Few rides in the world can compete in memories and as 
sociations with these five miles of uphill and downhill between 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 141 

the two mountain cities. They begin to crowd in almost im 
mediately as one comes into the open country. 

By this route Abraham with his son Isaac must have come 
from Hebron and from it caught glimpses of Mount Moriah* 
Two centuries later Jacob made a mournful halt to bury his 
best-loved wife Rachel alongside this road. 

A little domed white building marks Rachel s grave. Be 
cause it sets me dreaming, maybe it will make you dream, too. 
Beauty and love! Jacob loved Rachel who the Bible says 
" was beautiful and well-favored." He served for her twice 
seven years " and they seemed unto him but a few days " 
because of the love he had for her. In time she bore him Jo 
seph and then later along this Bethlehem Road she gave birth 
to Benjamin; but she died in childbirth. Here along this 
highway which was in time to become the " Road of Moth 
ers/ 5 Jacob in his great grief set up a pillar to mark her 
grave. His pillar of stones has long since gone, crumbled 
away by time, but because the memory of the love which in 
spired the token has never passed away a little Moslem domed 
building has taken its place. Three thousand years have come 
and gone since Jacob loved Rachel but love is sacred to all 
peoples. Today Moslems, Jews, and Christians still pause at 
Rachel s Tomb and remember with longing " the love he had 
to her." 

Not far from here I have enjoyed tarrying at a well; it is 
such a pleasant place. There is a stone basin beside the well 
so that shepherds and cameleers can pour out water for their 
thirsty beasts. This is called the Well of the Magi. 

Stopping, I have remembered that Mary came by here once 
on her way to be enrolled in her ancestral town and while 
there to give birth to the world s illustrious son. Tradition 
says she rested by the well and drank of its sweet waters 
while travelling by donkey the last long five miles between 
Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the end of a tiresome three-day 

142 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

journey from Galilee, I ve remembered, too, that it was 
along this same road that the Kings of the East came riding. 
Tradition tells us again that on their way they lost their 
guiding star and, coming to this well, halted on the night 
when they were seeking him " that is born King of the Jews." 
Stopping to slake their thirst, they found it again shining in 
the clear water. 

To the left of the highway, the earth falls away suddenly 
and every available inch of the slopes is terraced and planted; 
here the olive, fig, and pomegranate thrive and in the open 
valley below, far below, wheat and barley ripple in the sun 
light. In one of the fields Boaz reaped and Ruth gleaned. 
Far off lies the Dead Sea with a slight greyish haze rising 
from its waters. In the late afternoon the western sun lights 
up a long distant line of pink in the east; these are the hills of 
Moab beyond Jordan which had been the girlhood home of 

In one of these sunlit fields to the left, shepherds watched 
their flocks by night nineteen hundred years ago. Here when 
the heavenly glory suddenly shone around, they heard the 
sweet concord of holy voices as the first Christmas carol came 
floating through the skies: 

" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will 
toward men." 

Shepherding does not change much in Palestine where 
wild beasts may descend still upon unprotected sheep and sud 
denly destroy them. The Palestine shepherd lives night and 
day with his animals. He establishes a degree of intimacy 
with them which is touching to observe. He leads his flocks 
and they, having complete confidence in him who is not an 
hireling, follow. He calls them all by their names and they, 
knowing his voice and hearing his only, heed. He protects 
the sheep from thieves and preying animals who would devour 

V.i 5 

o a 

K O 


10 60 




3 -S 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 143 

them at night by sleeping in the opening of the often make 
shift sheepfold and they, sensing his watchfulness, fear " no 
evil." He provides pasture and water even in the wilderness 
and the presence of enemies and they, casting all their anxiety 
upon him, are fed. There is a singular communion between 
the shepherd and his sheep which, after one has visited 
Palestine and observed it, makes the symbol of the Good 
Shepherd peculiarly apt and the Twenty-third Psalm strangely 

For those who have travelled extensively in Palestine to 
go out with the guardians of the sheep and keep vigil under 
the stars is to be carried back through the centuries to the 
first Christmas Eve. The scene of the night-watch is now ex 
actly as it was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. 

It is no uncommon sight to see on the horizon a Beth- 
lehemite lad, having gentle eyes and manner, clad similarly 
to David in an " abba " and wearing on his head a white 
" kuffiyeh " held in place by the black " agal," carrying a 
long crook, and leading a straggling flock of fat-tailed sheep. 
It is like being carried back swiftly to the days of the young 
David when he tended and defended his father Jesse s sheep 
on the hillsides of Judea. 

But on ahead there is Bethlehem, crowning two hills. Slen 
der cypress trees rise above her flat roofs; white buildings 
shine among olive trees; terraces of olive, fig, and pomegran 
ate fall away into the distance, because every available inch 
is striped with terraces. Her white flat-roofed houses of 
dressed stone cluster on the hillside; they almost seem to 
crouch on the very edge of the road as if to look well on 
tourists bound for the holy site the only truly Christian 
community in the Holy Land today. But above them all rise 
the bell-towers of convents, orphanages, and monasteries. 
There is always a bell softly chiming in Bethlehem! 

I shall always remember the town as small and unspoilt, 

144 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

as neat and substantial, in pleasing contrast to the ordinary 
fellaheen villages of mud-huts. 

" This is humble Bethlehem 

In the Judean wild; 
And this is lowly Bethlehem 

Wherein a mother smiled; 
Yea, this is happy Bethlehem 

That knew the Little Child." 

Until 1938 no noise, no mental conflicts had engaged the 
people for many years, because only a handful of Moslems 
lived among the ten thousand Christian Arabs in amity. Not 
until 1938 when all communities in the. Holy Land were 
stirred again as they had not been since Turkish days by po 
litical and religious animosity, only then was this peaceful dis 
trict disturbed. What had contributed largely to those years 
of quiet and well-being? Nothing more than the mechanical 
and artistic skill, business ability, and thrifty industry of the 
^ people of Bethlehem. 

As in the time of Boaz and later of David, the people are 
farmers and shepherds, but many today are occupied as well 
with the manufacture and sale of souvenirs. Their tiny shops 
line the narrow streets, mere winding alleys, and they offer 
their lovely hand-wrought products of olivewood and mother- 
of-pearl: New Testaments, rosaries, crucifixes, dainty beads, 
and medallions, and trinkets made from the bituminous shale 
of the desert. This is the chief industry today. 

Waking Bethlehem, jarring itself to activity shortly after 
sun-up on a Saturday for sheep-market is a custom as old as 
Christian Bethlehem itself. 

Through winding alleys of cobblestone-step streets, past 
cube-like houses of substantial native limestone, revealing 
very little of what goes on within, and up a broad, romantic 
flight of steps, the serene matrons go to market to select 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 145 

oranges, cucumbers, fresh, dewy-cool grape leaves, squash, 
juicy red-ripe tomatoes. The women from surrounding vil 
lages and from gardens near the town sell their fruits and 
vegetables which they bring here in baskets on their heads. 
In season huge piles of grains are offered for sale " heaped up 
and running over." Bethlehem has always stood for fertility; 
its very name means " House of Bread." Here at market chil 
dren play games, running in and out among the sheep and 
camels being bartered by their owners. 

The problems of Bethlehem haven t changed much in two 
thousand years. These people are neighbors today as Mary 
had neighbors in Bethlehem. Crowds jostle at market as they 
did at the enrollment time of Caesar Augustus. What to eat 
and the current price of foodstuffs still concern the Christian 
wives of Bethlehem. But more than all else, these Christian 
women speak to one of homes, real homes with normal, 
happy, family ties, of home as the center of the affections, 
of love in humble homes such as Mary s must have been. 

The dress of a Bethlehem woman is unique and in this 
land of memories is a memory of the Crusades. The married 
women wear a high headdress covered with a flowing white 
veil which is pinned neatly under the chin, and which falls 
down the back and over the shoulders gracefully. Under the 
veil is a tall, pointed red cap like a small tower which has the 
woman s dowry gold sewn row upon row upon the front. 
From it hangs the " znekb," a chain which holds ten coins 
and a central pendant. The coins represent the bride s 
dowry. After seeing the headdress of the Bethlehem costume 
never again does one wonder WHY the woman of the parable 
was so anxious to find the " lost coin " ; and " what woman 
having ten pieces of silver, if she loses one piece, doth not 
light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till 
she finds it " has a deeper significance. In Jewish days, they 
told me in the Holy Land, ten pieces of silver were sewn on 

146 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the headdress of a married woman. Was this the custom to 
which Jesus referred? To lose a coin was a reflection on a 
woman s carefulness, evidence to her neighbors of her negli 
gence, disrespect for her husband, and the occasion for arous 
ing superstitious fears* 

The dresses of present-day Bethlehemites are of the heaviest 
spun silk or wool, depending upon the wealth of the wearer; 
the bodices are embroidered heavily and brilliantly; while 
over these are velveteen jackets. The unmarried woman s 
headdress is different. Before marriage the virgins of Bethle 
hem wear a double circle of coins encircling their faces, sur 
mounted by a white veil. If the sun s rays catch the glitter 
of the precious metal, the reflection suggests a halo. Pos 
sibly this is the origin of the golden circles surrounding the 
heads of subjects in early religious art. 

Marvel of marvels in this land which is so rapidly chang 
ing with the introduction and adoption of many twentieth- 
century ideas and ways, religion is still the chief interest of the 
inhabitants of Bethlehem. 

All through the day the white-veiled women come to pray 

within the shadows and stillness of the Church of the Nativ 
ity. It is the very core of town life from early morning when 
the bells peal out a welcome to the returning sun until they 
chime a benediction as the shadows of the evening hours 

The worshippers look like nuns as singly or in groups they 
tread with courtly grace across the spacious courtyard of the 
church and disappear through its low doorway. However, 
they are ordinary Bethlehem women wearing the conspicuous 
spotless headdress flowing down about their ample skirted 
gowns. Their faces have a tranquil look from inner peace; 
they have a rarer beauty shining from a source within. 

On Christmas Eve these white-veiled women sing at even 
song, as did the angels once, who sang of " peace, good will to 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 147 

men"; these Christians sing instead of Jesus, born of Beth 


All mountain paths and winding streets lead to the market 
square in front of the Church of the Nativity. Here stand 
burdened donkeys. Here come the camels from over the 
mountain trails. Here ends the motor road. In this land 
where antiquity and modernity meet sometimes so incongru 
ously, it is still something of a shock to find here in the mar 
ket square an electric street lamp an electric star burning 
during the evening. And so today " in thy streets shineth * a 

quite efficient light. 

In the center of Bethlehem stands the oldest existing 
church of Christendom, used now in common by three Eastern 
denominations: Greeks, Latins, and Armenians, but revered 
by all Christians. Authorities do not doubt that the church 
stands on the site where the Radiant Child was born and the 
place of the first Christmas. 

The building resembles a huge, feudal, fortified castle set 
within an immense courtyard. It has at times been used as a 
fortress to protect the residents from massacre. The present 
church is substantially the one built by Justinian in 527 A. D., 
but churches and monasteries have been added to the main 
structure through the centuries. Others repaired the church. 
St. Jerome visited it, even made it his home while he was 
engaged in preparing for the world the Vulgate version. We 
of the twentieth century seldom realize the enormity of his 
task and the hardships he underwent while engaged in his 
monumental work of translating the Scripture into Latin 
from Hebrew manuscripts until we visit the small, dark, 
windowless, underground room like a cold, damp cell in 
which he toiled fourteen years. 

The front and main entrance to the imposing, massive 

148 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

church is a miniature doorway, but four feet high, called by 
some reverent pilgrims c< The Door of Humility." High and 
wide originally,, gradually it has been filled in as worshippers 
there demanded protection from unsympathetic religious fa 
natics who threatened their peace and their very lives. No 
danger now that more than one person can enter this low,- 
narrow doorway at a time; nor that armed persons can ride 
in on camels; nor that anyone can step in erect surveying at a 
glance immediately the situation within the Church of the 

Each time I have visited Bethlehem s church, I have hesi 
tated a moment to glance down at the old doorsill, to see the 
two grooves which pairs of pilgrim feet before mine have 
worn down deep through passing centuries; then, I have been 
forced to stoop to enter into the best-loved church in Chris 
tendom. It has always taken me some moments after 
straightening up before my eyes accustomed themselves to the 
dullness of the light and before the beauty of great dignity 
impressed itself upon me. 

This is no ornate church with dark and burdened altars but 
an austere basilica of almost studied simplicity. IVe stepped 
forward then between two double rows of pinkish limestone 
Corinthian pillars, which some do say were brought from the 
ruins of Herod s Temple in Jerusalem to adorn this temple. 
Above the supporting columns is the old wooden roof, the gift 
of Edward IV and Philip of Burgundy in the fifteenth cen 
tury. About the walls are scattered and often faded patches 
of gold and colored Byzantine mosaics. They contrast 
strikingly with the white plaster which has filled in portions 
where the beautiful mosaics, which once elaborately covered 
the walls, have fallen off with passing time. 

- By lifting a trap door in the present flooring in the nave of 
the Church of the Nativity, I have looked down upon a mag 
nificent mosaic carpet the remains of the flooring placed in 

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Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 149 

the original church by Constantine. It was only rediscovered 
in 1934 during some repairs at the church. 

" Why isn t it all uncovered for the world to gaze upon, to 
walk upon? " someone is asking. Because, my friend, all the 
masses, all the baptisms, all the weddings, all the funerals of 
Bethlehem take place within this church. It would be hardly 
wisdom to subject these rare mosaics which are more like 
faded rectangles of rich old carpets, which any museum would 

be proud to number among its treasures, to the wear and tear 
of everyday demands. Necessary to replace the flooring, only 

a few squares have been left to show to visitors. 

I shall never forget an afternoon service, a special service, 
in this darkened church. I saw altar boys with censers, a 
priest upholding a tall, gold cross, the venerable Armenian 
Bishop in gorgeous ecclesiastical vestments followed by other 
church dignitaries as in solemn procession they advanced in 

the church. I heard the reverent tones of the ancient liturgy. 
Like shadows there the people stood in stillness as the serv 
ice began, their forms but dim upon the elevated transept be 
yond the nave. And then , * . the light shone through 
. . . rays of shining sunlight broke through the lofty windows 
over their bent heads to fall in blessing on the high altar. 
Solemnity and peace. The peace of which Christ Jesus spoke 
pervaded this house of prayer. 

From either side of the elevated transept are circular stair 
cases which lead down into the Chapel of the Nativity. Be 
neath the high altar is the cave which tradition claims as the 
site where Jesus was born. Before I have descended that 
flight of steps to the underground portions of this church, be 
fore I have descended a dark staircase slippery with the drip 
pings from many pilgrim candles, I have stopped to remind 
myself of the first Christmas. Reading a few passages of 
Scripture, I ve found the whole story unfolding itself against 
the background of this old shrine. 

150 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


Hurrying on from the Well of the Magi with thoughts of 
the necessity for shelter and rest for this night, Mary and Jo 
seph must have glimpsed such a scene as other travellers 
through the years have: of Bethlehem sitting upon her hills 
which are higher than the hills upon which Jerusalem is built, 
sitting there as a promise of a haven for weary humanity. 
The town holds that promise today for weary, seeking in 
dividuals doubting the promise of the birth, and many have 
been restored to faith by visits here. But during the twenty- 
fifth year of the reign of Caesar Augustus, it was the end of a 
long journey for two wayworn travellers and Bethlehem was 
crowded with pilgrims summoned to the city of their ancestors 
for the census ordered by the Emperor* 

They must have sought shelter in one of the old cave dwell 
ings, part masonry, part cave, a human abode built against 
the side of a hill. Many of these humble dwellings dot the 
landscape of Bethlehem today. The grotto in the Church of 
the Nativity, this grotto which the Christian heart has associ 
ated with the nativity for more than eighteen hundred years, 
was such a place as that originally. These dwellings are one- 
room houses, built over caves which are level with the road; 
the room slightly above being for the family. The cave part 
is used as a stable for the animals at night. There is in most 
of these a stone trough or manger cut directly from rock. To 
this the animals are tied; from here the animals are fed. 

Mary and Joseph did not use the stable of an inn, nor such 
an awful place as Western imagination has conjured in con 
nection with the blessed event. In ancient days a khan was an 
open place built around a central courtyard. Under the 
colonnades were the travellers 5 rooms. At these caravansaries 
the animals were never stabled in our Western sense of the 
word " stabled. 5 They were only gathered together into the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 151 

open enclosure. I saw some of these khans not far from the 
" Street called Straight " in Damascus, no longer caravansaries 
but storehouses. The prevailing Western idea that the Holy 
Family found refuge in the stable of a caravansary is unthink 
able to anyone who knows the Near East, the simple but 
abundant hospitality of its peoples. Instead Mary and Joseph 
were welcomed by such humble folk as lived in a home, part 
cave and part masonry, part stable and part human abode, 
such as one still finds in Bethlehem today. The animals pro 
vided precious heat on cold nights in December in the Holy 
Land. So, it was here in such a place as this that: 

"The days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 

" And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him 
in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there 
was no room for them in the inn." LUKE 2 : 6, 7. 

Joseph, the simple carpenter, stood near-by, awakened from 
his sleep, awed by the wonder; and he pondered slowly on 
what the morn might mean to them. Moving over to the 
manger upon which lay the baby cradled in the hay, Joseph 
" called his name Jesus." 

I have watched Christian pilgrims as they have come to 
these steps which lead down into the grotto. Unseeing, they 
passed by the antique symmetry of carved columns and arches 
in this old shrine of Justinian. Their eager hearts were 
not stirred by fine pillars, by gold lamps, by gorgeous trap 
pings, by burning incense, by religious quarrels among sects; 
instead their feet pressed onward toward one precious spot. 
Their feet pressed on to a dimlit shrine, a tiny chapel, to find 
a star, which Catholic fathers have placed in the flagstones of 
the floor of the crypt lest some hurrying pilgrims along life s 
busy way forget that here Jesus was born. These sought 
a star symbolic of that child, himself a shining star. Their 
yearning eyes would lovingly caress, their lips would homage 

152 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

pay "the time-dulled silver star, sunk deep within the pave 
ment, footfall-worn. 35 They read these reverent pilgrims who 
had come from near and far: 

" Hie de Virgine Maria Jesus Ghristus Natus Est." 
Here of the Virgin Mary, Christ was born. 

I have seen lifted faces, tear-stained, wan, and brown glow 
then into a worship that is rapturing. Despite the mummery 
which obliterates for casual, pleasure-seeking visitors all sense 
of the Infinite, these rapturous ones had felt a thrill of some 
thing more divine than they had glimpsed before. Although 
their mortal feet touched the floor of the rock-hewn chamber, 
although their mortal eyes beheld the spot, their spirits had 
taken flight; and with an almost immortal sight they passed 
on to the place of the manger. In vision where the Wise Men 
stood of yore around a baby cradled in the hay, the pilgrims 
stood in very ecstasy of adoration. 

While in the Chapel of the Nativity, beneath the high altar 
of the church, is the site of the place of the manger, this one 
here is of marble instead of being cut from the natural rock 
of the cave. The original crib is resting in the Church of 
Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome having been taken there in 
the eighth century. It was my privilege in 1937 to be in 
Santa Maria Maggiore when visiting dignitaries of the Catho 
lic church were shown the precious manger of the child. And 
so, just happening there, I saw the relic of that bygone day. 
But returning to the GospePs story, the scene is shifted. 
Outside the gloom of the rude cave-home, the night was aglow 
with brightness on the first Christmas Eve; all was still. 

" And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in 
the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the 
glory of the Lord shone round about them." 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 153 

And in the peace and solitude of these Judean hills the first 
strains of the solo of the " angel of the Lord " came floating 
on the air: 

" Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be 
to all people. 

" For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord. 

" And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the 
heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

** Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will 
toward men." LUKE 2: 8-11, 13, 14. 

A hushed, fearful silence greeted the strains of the angel s 
song. Those without the cave in Shepherds Field gathered 
nearer together as sweetly flowed on the clear night air the 
voices of the angelic host. They inquired of one another: 

"Hark! what mean those angel voices sweetly sounding 
through the skies?" 

It was the first carol and the first cradle hymn. 

There was a lingering echo to the celestial song of praise. 
Within those listening and adoring shepherds hearts there 
must have echoed such a song as this : 

" Sing on, sweet angels, though your song 

Floats down to scenes of sorrow ; 
Ye tell of peace, goodwill to men 
Be this the strain we borrow." 


So, when the angels were gone away, the shepherds said to 
one another, " Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see 
this thing, which the Lord hath made known unto us, a babe 
wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And they 

154 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

hastened to Bethlehem, to the cave-home now covered by the 
Church of the Nativity, and they found Mary, and Joseph, 
and the Babe. 

The Y. M. C. A. lays claim to a cave in Shepherds Field 
which easily might have been the one where resting shepherds 
first saw " the glory of the Lord/ 5 Each year on Christmas 
Eve the Y. M. C. A. members, their friends, and neighbors in 
Bethlehem come to the cave. A lamb is roasted in the old- 
time manner, round loaves of Syrian bread such as are rel 
ished by the natives are baked, and a common meal is shared. 
It has always been the custom for keepers of the flocks to. con 
gregate at night to partake in common of their simple food. 
The Y preserves this custom in Shepherds Field. There is an 
address, and then the Christmas Scripture is read in Arabic, 
Hebrew, and English so that everyone may hear the " glad 
tidings of great joy, which are for all people." Finally, all to 
gether, Bethlehem s residents, Y members, and their friends 
climb up the mountain slope to the town, even as the shep 
herds twenty centuries ago climbed up the terraced height to 
see a mother, a carpenter, and a sleeping baby in a manger. 


Only a trip to the Holy Land reveals WHY the Gospel 
makes so much of a mere star. Have you ever thought of 
clear stars as silver eyes? I am sure that you would in the 
Holy Land, because all such lovely thoughts, come to anyone 
who has time to linger in her out-of-doors and let the spirit 
take possession. Stars mean a great deal to Near Easterners. 
It is not unusual for a Syrian to travel by the direction of the 
stars or in giving travel directions to advise the inquirer " to 
take a certain star in his hand." 

One evening a Londoner now living in Jerusalem offered to 
drive me to the Shepherds Village. I had always wanted to 
see Bethlehem underneath a canopy of stars. I stood by a low 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 155 

wall not far from the market place and looked up into the 
night sky. 

" Like silver lamps in a distant shrine 
The stars are sparkling bright." 

Bethlehem had a hushed, waiting stillness. I continued to 
whisper to myself: 

" The stars of heaven still shine as at first 
They gleamed on this wonderful night." 

No one can make a successful tour of the Holy Land with 
out all the lovely hymns and poetry from one s childhood. I 
have found that these are the angels which keep one s thought 
above the sordid things of life in Palestine. 

We lingered around Bethlehem. We were the only per 
sons astir in the peaceful, serene countryside. So silently it 
came to me standing there in the clear, midnight air with a 
" stranger star " high in the heavens above me that: 

" Faith sees no longer the stable floor, 

The pavement of sapphire is there, 
The clear light of heaven streams out to the world, 

And the angels of God are crowding the air, 
And heaven and earth, 

Through the spotless birth, 
Are at peace on this night so fair." 


But to go back to the Christmas story far in the East, 
Wise Men had seen a star and they came through Syria seek 
ing him " that is bora King of the Jews." The star went be 
fore them for a time until at long last they lost it. But coming 
to the well on the road to Bethlehem, they found it again re 
flected in the shining water. Again it went before them until 
finally it came and remained over where the young child was. 

156 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

The Magi, history does not tell us how many, brought with 
them gifts, representative of their country and expressive of 
their country s homage to a new-found king, gifts of gold, 
frankincense, and myrrh. They passed afar and if any came 
after them, no one has told us. 

But what of the gifts that these Wise Men bore? The 
Church has said that the gold is symbolic of his royalty, the 
myrrh of his humanity, and in the incense is the emblem of 
his divinity. And what became of these gifts that the Magi 
bore? No one can say what happened to them, but of this we 
know very well: all that Christ hath he will give away. 


I think of a thrilling morning pilgrimage that I made to the 
birthplace of my Saviour. 

I saw American-made motor busses leave Jaffa Gate regu 
larly every fifteen minutes for Bethlehem. Upon inquiry I 
learned a round-trip ticket cost two piastres (ten cents)* The 
eagerness on the faces of the natives as they approached the 
busses and piled in one on top of another crowded around 
with bundles and even a tiny lamb and a few chickens told me 
that here was an experience that would prove illuminating. 

Gingerly, I sat down in the front seat, which later I real 
ized was a precarious position on a bus whose front door was 
never closed. We started, but without any warning, with 
such a lurch that I wondered if my head were still attached to 
my body. We flew down the Bethlehem Road. No matter 
how many flocks we met or men astride donkeys we proceeded 
straight ahead to the business at hand with the horn screech 
ing. If Satan had been after us, I am sure we could have 
gone no faster. 

A friendly Arab in a bright costume sat beside me. Be 
tween us we talked a sign language all our own of nods, of 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 157 

smiles, violent shakes of the head, and lofty waves of his right 
arm as frequently he leaned far over me to point out the open 
window to sights I must not miss. 

I was amazed when the driver seemed to know just where 
to drop his passengers, one by one, without any sign from 
them. Each time we stopped with the same fierce jamming 
of the brakes; the bus screamed in its fury at the sudden inter 
ruption of its service, and we sat and shook like puppets, that 
is, those of us fortunate enough to be left in our seats. It is 
peculiar how Arab bus drivers never slow up to stop. Instead 
they stop at full speed. 

Each time we resumed our journey with the same jerks. 
The engine always coughed, its fumes were oily. And I real 
ized that the unseen inhabitants of my friendly seat companion 
had come over to visit me when my flesh began to tingle. 

Many times since 1935 I have made round-trip pilgrimages 
to Bethlehem, via the native Arab busses. I have chosen that 
means of transportation when I have been in danger of build 
ing up around these holy places like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, 
Nazareth, and all the rest a wall so high that I forget that 
other human beings like myself are living there. I have met 
in my travels some people who have forgotten this and so the 
Holy Land was quite without beauty for them. 


Crossing the Kidron, continuing up and around the shoulder 
of Olivet, I come into Bethany where I visit a Moslem school. I 
follow the road to Jericho as it winds down through fierce gorges 
and hills which roll -dull and brown into distance. Modern Jeri 
cho has sycamores suited to the purposes of a ^accheus and 
palms reminiscent of when it was called ef a city of palm trees. 93 
Ancient, excavated Jericho sheds light on the biblical account of 
the Israelites invasion of Canaan, the city s capture, and ex 
plains how the walls fell down flat. With memories of Joshua 
awakened, I go on to the scene of where he led Israel across 
Jordan in 1400 B. c. I ponder on the river s unique position 
among the rivers of the world, hallowed because of its associa 
tion with men such as Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, and 
Jesus. I have a view of the Mount of Temptation from the 
Dead Sea. 

I DECIDED to run down to Jericho, following the road 
which the man took who fell among thieves and was 
beaten and bruised. I set out from Jerusalem by car in the 
early morning. We passed Damascus Gate, crossed the Brook 
Kidron marked by only a bare trickle of water, and on 
through a crowd of whining, importuning, sightless beggars 
and loiterers always at Virgin s Tomb, and continued up and 
around the shoulder of the Mount of Olives past the Moslem 
and Jewish burying grounds to little Bethany with its mem 
ories of " little holy, loving home. 53 Here we stopped while 
the hillsides, the square, flat-roofed houses of tan stone, the 
flowers in the fields, the one shimmering olive tree with a flock 
of resting sheep beneath its protecting branches, a luminous 
blue sky, and some crumbling ruins spoke of rememberable 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 159 

The home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus is gone, but the 
brown village houses with matrons in the doorways revealed 
that friendship and hospitality are still not unknown in Beth 
any. The perfume of the alabaster box of ointment poured 
upon the feet of Jesus was not lost upon the air of Bethany, 
because its fragrant memory lingers in the joyful flowers on 
the rocky slopes. The laughing, happy, begging village chil 
dren are symbolic of the abundant life of which Jesus re 
minded Lazarus in his tomb. 

Wandering through Bethany, I found my curiosity aroused 
by a building ahead of me. I didn t know what it housed but 
there was a terrific buzz issuing from it. I stooped from the 
embankment to look through a high, grilled window. I could 
hardly believe my eyes and ears that school was in session. 
Scrambling and sliding down the embankment, I came around 
to the entrance. I stood rooted in the doorway* watching 
about one hundred boys at narrow tables and backless benches 
busily and excitedly engaged in reciting aloud their lessons in 
the Koran. Entering the narrow, long, dark room, it became 
so quiet I could have heard a pin drop. It was quite the re 
verse to the method employed in reception of visitors in Amer 
ican schools where study means absolute quiet and the visitor s 
claims upon a teacher s attention are a signal for disorder 
among the pupils. 

Fashion means little in this part of the world and so these 
young Mohammeds, Mousas, and Jacobs were dressed as their 
ancestors were centuries ago. On top of thin, light trousers 
they wore long, striped robes fastened sometimes at the waist 
with a bright-colored sash like a scarf. Most of them had 
small, flower-pot, red hats and a few of the more fortunate a 
pair of sandals on their brown, bare feet. 

I was keenly interested in this school at Bethany. Since 
1920 there has been a dual system of education, Arabic and 
Hebrew, developed along a racial and linguistic basis, in 

i6o Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Palestine. In 1936 there were three hundred and fifty gov 
ernment schools with an attendance of thirty-six thousand pu 
pils; nine-tenths of the village schools are Moslem. This was 
one at Bethany. 

Jewish children are educated in non-Government schools 
which are controlled by Jewish authorities with some money 
grants from the Government. Agricultural education for men 
is cared for by three agricultural schools supported by Jewish 
agencies; the technical school is Jewish controlled. The lack 
of schools for Arabs along agricultural and technical lines is 
deplorable. Most of the education which a Moslem receives 
has very little relation to everyday life, present or future world 
affairs. One searches in vain for any syllabus on agricultural 
or scientific courses, anything which would be valuable to the 
Arab, give him an occupation other than government clerk 
ing (a field already overcrowded) to stabilize him for citizen 
ship or to accept responsibility for community life. 

Therein has lain much of the reason for unrest in this 


Arab world. Nomad by nature he is not being taught to be 
useful nor cooperative; formerly as a tribesman the policy 
was to acknowledge only the strongest sheik and loyalty 
among the various tribes was guaranteed by force or pur 
chased as was shown in the first World War when Lawrence 
endeavored to unite Arab tribesmen. For too many centuries 
the Arab has believed that whatever happens to him is " the 
will of Allah," that disastrous events in his world cannot be 
averted or prevented. Yet he sees measures being adopted to 
do just that in the world around him, in political affairs, in 
the Zionist colony beside his own field where modern agricul 
tural methods are practised. Without proper education to 
cope with his pressing problems, he is powerless to act. Yet 
Palestine is slowly feeling the influence of the West in educa 
tion. The American University at Beirut and the American 
Friends 5 School at Ramallah are seeing to that. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 161 


Not far from Bethany, the road begins to drop in great 
windings into a deep, disconsolate valley, among ragged, 
wrinkled hills. The landscape becomes more and more arid, 
starved and stricken, honeycombed with yawning black caves, 
which would be excellent places of refuge for robbers, dire 
places of destruction for unwary travellers like the man in 
Jesus* parable. 

. I saw shepherd lads with their flocks upon the haggard 
hillsides, rugged Bedouin watching scores of lop-eared, black- 
haired goats, an Arab come running out from the Good 
Samaritan Inn, a ruin today, long strings of mangy camels 
shilly-shallying along the side of the road or disappearing 
over the horizon. 

Past a gloomy gorge we sped, a gorge five hundred feet 
deep, through which a stream of water sings as it rushes on 
its way between its prison walls which are an ancient aque 
duct. The Judean Wilderness on the way to the suffocat 
ingly hot Dead Sea region is a symbol of violence, desolation, 
and forsakenness. It affords very few flowers, almost no 
green at any time. Across the gorge I saw the Monastery of 
St. George, clinging precariously on the face of this dreary 
precipice. But miracle of miracles ! I remember seeing amid 
such apparent barrenness a scraggly palm tree near the mon 
astery, living there incongruously on a rocky ledge a precari 
ous existence, eked out by what water the monks could illy 
spare its thirsty roots; the only bit of living green in all the 
vast, lonesome waste of silent, brownstone hills. It is a monu 
ment to Hope which springs eternal in the human breast. 

As we emerged from a narrow valley and came into the 
furrowed grey and yellow ridges and peaks of the Judean 
Wilderness, the wild country into which Jesus retired for 
forty days, another of those grand panoramas unfolded which 

1 6s Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

are known only to Palestine. Scenes of almost breath-taking 
beauty coupled with history made poignant through hallowed 
religious memories. It was a sweeping view from the snowy 
summit of Mount Hermon in northern Syria past the buried 
cities of the Decapolis to the immense Jordan Plain with its 
silver ribbon winding through a jungle-green valley of palms 
and balsams and gliding noiselessly on into the steaming blue- 
grey waters of the Dead Sea. While the mighty purple back 
drop for this scene of splendor was those towering mountains 
of Gilead and Moab marching down to Edom. 

It had been cool but windy when I left Jerusalem; it was 
hot and the air was filled with a fine dust at Jericho. There is 
such contrast between the " city set upon a hill " two thousand 
five hundred and fifty feet above sea level and this Jordan 
Valley sunk in a trench almost thirteen hundred feet below 
sea level and only about twenty-three miles between them. 

The modern Jericho has many fertile, flourishing gardens. 
It was here that the sycamore tree (Ficus sycamorus) was 
pointed out to me first. It is prized throughout the East for 
its dense shade as shelter on a hot day. Obviously it was 
suited to the needs of the meditating Nathanael, who was 
marked by Jesus whose heart went out to him. Growing by 
the roadside with an almost joyous abandon of twisting 
branches, possessing a grotesque and curious attractiveness as 
it sprawls hither and yon, it eminently suited the purposes of 
Zaccheus, the tax-collector, as a place to catch the Master s 
eye. There are, many date-palms (Phoenix dactylifera) 
which reminded me they once grew so abundantly here that 
Jericho was called " a city of palm trees." They are beauti 
ful proud trees having a tall, straight trunk ending in a crown 
of emerald-green plumes which droop ever so slightly at the 
ends, and which in a light breeze seem to whisper a low soft 
song of beauty. There are no words to describe the delicious- 
ness of the Jericho banana. Oranges encouraged to grow 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 163 

here by irrigation have a good flavor if not the tremendous 
size of the Jaffa variety. 

From here I went over to investigate the now excavated 
ruins of ancient Jericho, the city near-by Jordan which was 
utterly destroyed in 1400 B. c. at the time when the children 
of Israel entered the Promised Land. This historical incident 
recorded in the Bible is only one but perhaps the greatest in 
vasion of a conquering horde from over Jordan that this small 
land of Palestine has ever known. Under Joshua the Hebrews 
approached the city after having crossed the river absolutely 
unopposed by artificial defenses. Perhaps the inhabitants of 
Jericho felt that the city s strategic position on a slight eleva 
tion and considerable distance from the river s bank was suf 
ficient protection for them and, too, that the Jordan provided 
sufficient natural barrier to give them ample warning of im 
pending siege. 

For thousands of years the campaigns of Joshua have been 
among the great military romances of history. The campaigns 
are now clear from recent events in Palestine which supply in 
teresting comment upon them. It was one of the biggest thrills 
of my first trip to Palestine to go to ancient Jericho for a day 
and have all my doubts concerning its walls, its gateway, and 
the intense conflagration put to rout. 

I entered the excavated ruins through the only gateway 
that has ever been found to the city. The archaeologists have 
been considerate enough to leave the stone hinge upon which 
the massive gate revolved in its proper place, just where it 
was in Joshua s day. Then I tramped through the ruins, fire- 
scarred masses of brick, charred bits of timber, house walls 
knee-high in places until I came at length to all that is left of 
the historic wall which faces north. During a subsequent 
visit no one was permitted to view the remains of the old wall. 
Instead after wandering for some time through the city s 
almost rabbit-warrens of streets, I visited Jericho s necropolis 

164 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

with its many funerary chambers, where unbroken pots and 
scarabs terminating with three of the reign of Amenhotep III 
(14131377 B. c.) were found to assist in verifying dates. 

There was one memorable incident which occurred during 
this latter -visit. As I stood on the height of the ruins survey 
ing the countryside, I spoke to my companions who had come 
down from Jerusalem with me to look into the distance and 
see the hundreds of black goat-hair tents pitched on the Jeri 
cho Plain. I reminded them that Joshua and the children of 
Israel encamped on the Jericho Plain as they waited for word 
from Jehovah to take the city. Encamped there, they must 
have looked to the frightened inhabitants gathered within the 
massive city walls for protection just as these Bedouin looked 
this day to us. In ancient times when conditions were fairly 
peaceful the whole population did not live within the com 
pact, walled city which was inadequate for comfortable ac 
commodation of its entire population, but they dwelt, the 
largest part of them, on the surrounding plain in tents as we 
could see these people living. It was a picture from the past, 
a picture from the Bible days of Joshua, for all of us to carry 
away in memory. 

The question naturally arises why there was a collapse of 
such a massive wall as encircled Jericho, " two massive paral 
lel walls of brick erected on somewhat insecure foundations 
of uneven stone and rising probably to thirty or forty feet. 
Over the space between the walls cross-beams of timber had 
been laid, and upon such timber had been built ordinary 
dwelling houses such as Rahab occupied when c she dwelt 
upon the wall/ " One explanation is a miracle. A second is 
an earthquake because they are frequent in the Jordan Valley. 
It makes an event no less miraculous to me when God appears 
in natural phenomena and in ordinary events and processes in 
human experience more than once as well as in the unusual 
phenomena beyond my comprehension and explanation. The 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 165 

modern and scientific explanations of " miracles " within the 
Bible only tend to increase my assurance that " every common 
bush is afire with God." 

Excavations here have shown that some extraordinary ca 
tastrophe overwhelmed the city about 1400 B. c. The ex 
planation is that the wall collapsed down the slope of the hill 
upon which the city was built, dragging with it the inner wall. 
There is very little doubt that an earthquake aided Joshua in 
bringing the children of Israel into Jericho. 

Far more interesting to me than the confirmation of the 
collapse of the walls " flat " as the Bible records were the 
results of exhausting examinations within the walls. The 
archaeologists began to dig among the ruins, sifting the 
debris, sorting, checking everything of consequence, and tabu 
lating their findings. They picked up preserved specimens of 
wheat, barley, onions, lentils, dates, all of which had been 
carbonized by the intense heat of the fire set up by Joshua s 
followers. They found lumps of dough which housewives in 
their fright had run off and forgotten when destruction befell 
the city. Inside storerooms they found pottery vessels neatly 
arranged in rows; a few had been crushed in their positions 
but investigation showed that at one time they had contained 
something of a fluid nature; others were still intact after 
thirty-four hundred years. Joshua s men did not plunder 
the foodstuffs ! Bits of broken sherds, carbonized remnants of 
timber and food, even fragments of human bones can be 
picked up by visitors to old Jericho, who want a memento 
from this city over whose fate many Bible students have specu 
lated and wondered. There is one thing that no one has been 
able to find among the ruins. It is any piece of metal! The 
Bible records: 

" The silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of 
iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. * 

JOSHUA 6: 24. 

1 66 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Not one piece of metal has ever been found by recent visitors 
nor by tie more careful, investigating archaeologists among 
the ruins of Jericho, which lay hidden, unknown, and unmo 
lested for centuries under the exterior of a hill which to casual 
observers and tourists was merely another hill between the 
wilderness and Jordan. 

The new light on Jericho and the exploits of Joshua is so 
recent and astounding that scholars are having to reconstruct 
a good deal concerning what they thought was true in Bible 
history. Dr. Garstang argues, excavation of this site has 
established the date of the Exodus from Egypt as approxi 
mately 1447 B. c., the name of the princess who fondled the 
baby Moses as Queen Hatshepsut, the name of the famous 
Pharaoh of the Oppression as Thotmes III, the name of the 
actual Pharaoh of the Exodus as Amenhotep II, and Amen- 
hotep III as the Egyptian ruler at the time when Jericho was 
destroyed since his scarabs were the last Egyptian monarch s 
to be found there, and, finally, the date when Joshua entered 
the Promised Land with the Hebrews as 1400 B. c. 


I went on to visit Jordan now that memories of Joshua had 

been awakened. I stood on the AUenby Bridge, which is the 
only large bridge along the length of this body of water 
dividing nomad from husbandman, East from West. I gazed 
north toward Mount Hermon standing a snow-capped sentinel 
in the far distance. A British Bobby stood near-by. Because 
that day I had no visaed passport into Trans- Jordan, he 
wanted to make sure that I did not leave Palestine to try the 
inviting road east off into a green valley which leads into 
the land of Gilead. Not that day; it must wait for another 

Rushing muddy along through banks of mud, what could 
have stopped those waters long enough for the Israelites to 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 167 

have crossed over the river dry-shod?. Someone was beside 
me, telling me a story, and I was listening, 

" Yes, north there about sixteen miles at East Damieh, just 
about where Joshua led the Hebrews across, there is a 
crumbling cliff that slides at intervals into this river and 
dams it up. It happened only a few years ago in the earth 
quakes of 1927. The waters of Jordan were dammed for 
twenty-four hours so that many people crossed and re-crossed 
dry-shod. It must have been an earthquake which aided 
Israel s leader in landing his forces on the western bank. 
Doesn t the Psalmist say as much wheq he commemorates the 
event? Don t you remember that he sang: 

" e The Jordan was driven back. 
The mountains skipped like rams, 
The little hills like lambs. 
What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou fleest? 
Thou Jordan, that thou turnest back? 
Ye mountains, that ye skip like rams; 
Ye little hills, like lambs? 

Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, 
At the presence of the God of Jacob^ 
Who turned the rock into a pool of water? " 
PSALM 114: 3-8. 

(American Standard Version) 

It is no myth that Joshua crossed over Jordan on dry land." 
His voice trailed off. 

I stood thinking again of the earthquake which facilitated 
the momentous crossing; what an outstanding event it was 
in the lives of these desert wanderers, what a remarkable proof 
of the omnipresence and omniscience of Israel s God. An 
earthquake made possible their entrance into the Promised 
Land toward which under the able leadership of Moses they 
had labored for forty years. It was as great a crisis in their 
affairs in 1400 B. c. as the crossing of the Red Sea had been 

1 68 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

earlier in 1440 B. a; in both instances the Hebrews gave all 
the credit to God. " Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among 
the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in 
praises, doing wonders? " they sang. 

I turned and looked south; I saw dense heavy foliage lining 
both sides of the Jordan, foliage covered with brown mud as 
though it had recently been sprayed, stumps of trees, and 
tangled bush. The river was high because it was April and 
the winter rains were just over. I gazed at this fresh river 
rushing and tumbling along to its final destination, the Dead 
Sea. Daily, hourly, minute by minute for hundreds of years 
the Jordan has desperately forced fresh water into the sea as 
though endeavoring to sweeten and purify its brine. Many in 
ages past have thought it was a useless sacrifice. Sometimes a 
defeat is a blessing in disguise. Here is a perfect example in 
Palestine. Hourly the Jordan has poured in valuable min 
erals which in the years to come will yield her untold billions. 

In Jerusalem I had heard how during our time the Jordan 
River is becoming of vast importance as an economic factor in 
the life of the peoples of the Near East. Annually, it de 
posits in the Salt Sea tons of minerals which are being har 
nessed by scientific enterprise. Th<|| Palestine Potash, Ltd., 
operates a concession at the Dead 9fa to obtain potash, sul 
phur, bromides, and other salts. It comes as a surprise to 
many to discover that Palestine ranks among the chief bro 
mide-producing countries of the world and that these nat 
ural resources brought down by the Jordan to be deposited in 
the Dead Sea are one of its chief exports and sources of reve 
nue. Farther north at the junction of the boundaries of 
Palestine, Trans- Jordan, and Syria at the confluence of the 
-Jordan and Yarmuk rivers, the waters have been dammed 
and diverted and at this point are the hydro-electric works. 
These works produce power for domestic and industrial re 
quirements in the cities, towns, and villages of the Near East. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 169 

The steel pylons towering above Nazareth s well, the electric 
star street lamp in the market square at Bethlehem, the flood 
lights playing at night upon the Wall of Jerusalem, the 
twinkle, twinkle of lights in far-off Jericho as seen from Olivet 
all testify that finally through scientific enterprise the Jordan 
is now becoming an economic factor in the lives of many 

Turbulent, narrow, winding are only a few of the words 
which describe this river s course from Banias in northern 
Syria to the Salt Sea in southern* Palestine. It is really the 
only river of the Holy Land because of the peculiar contour of 
the country which makes long rivers and navigable ones im 
possible. Yet to anyone who has seen the mighty Mississippi 
or the beautiful Ohio or the historic Hudson this is a mere 
rivulet. What few streams like the Kishon or the Kidron are to 
be found are absolutely dry in summertime with the exception 
of this one which finds its source among the snow-filled cran 
nies of the Anti-Lebanons. 

The Jordan Valley is not now populous as you and I 
are apt to think in terms of that word. Usually a river 
means great and large cities along its banks, thriving trade 
centers, the focus of traffic for a wide area. Instead this 
river has flowed through a section which for a long time 
has been called a wilderness, has been looked upon as 
something to be feared and people have lived inland away 
from its banks. Has it merited the stern, forbidding name 

From early spring to late autumn the heat in this valley is 
almost intolerable. The temperature is often during these 
months May, June, July, August, and even September 
ranging from 104 to 118 degrees. It is small wonder that 
vegetation hereabouts is parched unless in sections where 
constantly watered and in many places there is nothing grow 
ing a few feet back from the bank. Right along the river 

i jo Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

where the vegetation grows in tropical abundance the birds 
from all the valley haunt the banks and sing their happy 
melodies. During the days of the " judges " in Israel and 
even as late as Jeremiah s time the wild animals roamed in 
the jungle along the Jordan in freedom. When the Israelites 
took over Canaan and settled further inland along the 
central ridge of mountains which divides the present Palestine 
into two sections, they drove out the wild beasts which they 
found there in order to make the settled part of the country 
more habitable. For a place of refuge the beasts came down 
into this Jordan Valley. While no lions are found here today 
nevertheless natives still report wild boar, leopard, and wolf 
and warn that they are still something for the tourist to con 
jure with while travelling by foot. When I was in Jerusalem 
in the spring of 35, they were still telling of the two young 
men who had gone down into the Judean Wilderness, lost 
their way, and fell afoul the wild beasts. 

Frequently desert hordes from east of Jordan, the Arabs, 
used to make raids and cross the water boundary. They 
have continued to do this down to comparatively modern 
times. No ancient cities seemed able to resist these raiding 
bands. So altogether with the intense heat of the valley in 
summer, the danger of hungry, wild beasts, and the perils of 
marauding desert hordes led the Hebrews and even later in 
habitants during the Christian era to believe that it was much 
safer to build and settle further inland. 

In all the years since it first appeared in historical narrative, 
the Jordan has been defenseless. It is true that there were a 
few cities along the river s route: Bethshean (Beisan) was 
one city between Lake Galilee and the Dead Sea. The region 
around there was famous for corn, dates, balsam, and flax. 
Jericho was another city which was built upon the fertile, 
plain some distance inland. This was the city which Joshua 
knew, and which fell so easily to his invading forces in 1400 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 171 

B. c. The modern Jericho is a struggling, little scraggly vil 
lage set today in a beautiful setting of palm and banana 
groves. Not so very long ago along the banks of Jordan north 
of Jericho men uncovered mounds which consisted of dried 
bricks. It was thought at the time that these must be re 
mains of ancient cities. Some archaeologists declared that 
they were the remains of brick fields since the clay from the 
valley region has been discovered excellent material for 
moulding. They were settlements once. 

The extreme heat, the wild beasts, the dangers of invasion 
by desert tribes have been some hindrance to settlement 
and conquest of the Judean Wilderness, which is no Wilder 
ness of Delight such as Omar painted of Paradise. It is only 
now in some places where extensive modern irrigation meth 
ods have been applied that the region is showing promise. 
Already winter homes for the wealthier of Jerusalem s fam 
ilies and the Jewish colony at the Dead Sea prove that in time 
with further dissemination of scientific knowledge many un 
pleasant aspects of the wilderness will be overcome. 


Why, I asked myself here, among all the rivers of the world 
does this river of the Holy Land, the Jordan, hold such a 
unique position in the heart and memory of mankind? Hun 
dreds of other streams are more picturesque, far more useful, 
and certainly more mighty in size. It bears no resemblance in 
majesty or beauty to the great rivers of Europe or America. 
Other rivers have awakened a richer, fuller poetry among the 
peoples through whom they have passed; yet wherever civi 
lization has penetrated the name of the Jordan is known. It 
is important chiefly for its place in religious history. In this 
respect it surpasses the Mississippi, the Rhine, the Danube, 
and even the Nile. Perhaps the latter is the Jordan s only 
competitor because it, too, has captured and enraptured the 

172 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

imaginations of men. It has drawn to its valley one after an 
other of the great races of the world, compelled there by the 
mystery and the annual miracle which has impressed itself 
not only upon the thought of ancient man but modern man 
as well. But the Nile never gave the world a living religion. 
For most of us it is as part of ancient history alone that the 
Nile is interesting. We travel to visit its "Valley of the 
Kings" and "Valley of the Dead/* But dividing east and 
west Palestine, there is another valley, called by the Arabs the 
Ghor, through which flows the Jordan and pilgrims still come 
in large numbers from the far corners of the earth to bathe in 
its waters made holy for them by religious associations. 

They come quite humbly to this thin almost thread of a 
stream which through the medium of religion has become for 
them a symbol of the separation of matter and Spirit. The 
Jordan is a sacred river for three living religions: Judaism, 
Christianity, and Islam. In this one respect it surpasses in in 
terest any other river in the world. It is quite true that until 
the present day its chief importance has been historic since at 
its shores was marked the termination of forty years of wan 
dering by the children of Israel from the banks of the Nile and 
the beginning of their history as an independent nation in 
Canaan. Here began some hundreds of years later the blend 
ing of the Old and New Covenants; here dawned a new era 
for civilization with the birth of Christianity, because it was 
by Jordan s banks when John baptized Jesus that we might 
say: " Old things are passed away; behold, all things are be 

come new." 

The Jordan has been associated with many of the great 
figures in Hebrew and Christian history. Abraham knew the 
name of this river as " Jordan " from the time when he first 
migrated into Canaan from Ur of the Chaldees. It derived 
this name which means " descender " or " downcomer " from 
its own peculiar character. It just hustles along, muddy be- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 1 73 

tween banks of mud, careless of beauty, careless of every 
thing, even life, intent only upon its own work which for all 
the ages has been that of a separator, border, or barrier. Peo 
ples have felt this influence. Moses dreaded the separation 
this river would cause among the tribes, some of whom were 
to be left east of it in the land of Gilead. Throughout the 
centuries the Jordan has drawn a strong distinction between 
nomad and husbandman, between East and West. Always 
the people living west of Jordan have trod their land with the 
consciousness of a higher destiny than those living east of 
Jordan. It has exerted a powerful moral effect upon na 
tionalistic consciousness. 

Elijah, the fiery prophet of Jehovah,- mysteriously emerged 
from east of the river, from the land of Gilead, to go north 
into the Kingdom of Israel to preach repentance and right 
eousness to the faithless and idolatrous. Later, he withdrew 
to this same low-lying wilderness region as he was directed. 
Here he was fed by the ravens and watered by the Brook 
Cherith as he waited patiently for his fatal announcement of 
drought and famine to fulfill itself in the land of Israel. 

At the end of this adventurous career, with his successor, 
Elijah came down from the heights of Palestine around this 
lonely wilderness. 

" Tarry here, I pray thee; the Lord hath sent me to Bethel 
... to Jericho ... to Jordan," said Elijah. 

At each place, at Bethel, at Jericho, and again at Jordan, 
Elisha answered, " As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I 
will not leave thee." 

And so these two trudged down through piles of dead rock, 
twisted by ancient volcanic disturbances, possibly in burning 
sunlight down and down and down,- steadily downward from 
the high, cool Judean hills into the hot, dry, parched wilder 
ness about Jordan. Always ahead of them was the view of 
the blue and* violet mountains of Moab in which lay some- 

1 74 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

% where Moses 5 sepulchre. Did Elijah wonder whether God 
was to lay him to rest beside his noble forerunner? " In front 
was no promised land visible . . . nothing but that high sky 
line eastward under the empty heaven. Behind was no nation 
waiting to press into the future , . . nothing but a single fol 
lower who persisted to the end/ 3 writes George Adam Smith 
in " Historical Geography of the Holy Land." 

Two lonely people in an unpeopled wilderness, by the de 
serted bank of the Jordan, the end came. The river which 
had drawn back at a nation s feet parted as Elijah smote the 
waters with his mantle, which was the symbol of a prophet, 
and " they two went over on dry ground." Possibly feeling 
the approach of the great moment of his life, Elijah turned 
and with the tender feeling of a father for a loved son who is 
to carry on a lofty heritage, he said, " Ask what I shall do for 
thee, before I be taken from thee." 

They talked, the Bible says. I wondered of what wondrous 
things they talked that day by Jordan. I felt sure of one 
thing that if this grand, romantic character had been familiar 
with the Book of Job he would have echoed Job s own words 
as from his own deep experience he persuaded his gentler fol 
lower of the necessity for absolute reliance upon God and of 
the presence of God in the consciousness of the faithful to 
guide, to comfort, and to strengthen. In proof of the moral 
support in his crusade and the strength to push radical re 
forms he himself had enjoyed as a prophet of Israel s God, it 
seemed he would have echoed: " His candle shined upon my 
head, and by his light I walked through darkness." 

" And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, 
behold, there appeared a chariot *of fire, and horses of fire, and 
parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind 
into heaven." II KINGS 2: n. 

And so as suddenly as Elijah passed away to God from whom 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 175 

he had as suddenly come, it was Elisha whom he acknowl 
edged as his heir and to whom he left his spirit. 

Elisha smote the waters a second time on his return from 
" the other side of Jordan/ 5 He was the first to utilize this 
river for sacramental purposes. Now I remembered that he 
said to Naaman, the Syrian general and leper, " Go and wash 
in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come to thee again, 
and thou shalt be clean." I looked this day at the muddy 
river twisting and swirling along; I thought of the crystal clear 
stream called the River Abana that I had watched sliding 
glistening along its bed near Damascus. I sympathized with 
Naaman s hesitancy. 

Perhaps these two events in Israel s history determined 
John the Baptist s choice of a site for the beginning of his 
ministry in 26 A. D. In fact, I rather like to think it was the 
haunting memories of Elijah and Elisha which came to John 
and would come to the crowds which followed him here 
which decided his choice. Here by Jordan at Bethabara, he 
had two requisites : solitude and plenty of water. Here where 
Elisha had bade Naaman to bathe his leprosy away, John 
called upon the multitudes to come, wash, and be cleansed 
from unrighteousness, because by the act they signified their 
intention to repent " change their attitude " toward right 
eousness and sin. Here where Elijah had bequeathed his spirit, 
the spirit of God, upon his successor, John was to meet his. 
But this time it was no Elisha who came. It was in John s 
own words: 

" One stronger than I am, one whose shoes I am not fit to 
stoop down and untie. I have baptized you in water, but he will 
baptize you in the holy Spirit." MARK 1: 7-8. (Goodspeed) 

After his baptism by John, Jesus withdrew not far from Jor 
dan into the stark hills of the barren Judean Wilderness. 

176 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


Mount Quarantania was within my line of vision when I 
finally turned my back on Jordan and the Dead Sea and set 
my face toward Jerusalem late that afternoon. I had been 
sitting for a long time by the sea. I had watched tiny waves 
curl in. The near water was pale blue, the distant dark blue. 
On the pebbly beach a lot of driftwood was lying. Not a boat 
was visible. In all the time I had not seen a bird. 

Mount Quarantania or the Mountain of Temptation is situ 
ated back of the sea in a turmoil of rocks, amid the beauty of 
extreme " desolation and desertion on the very edge of the 
ghostly Judean Wilderness. Here during the forty days fol 
lowing the baptism by Jordan, Satan is said to have shown 
Jesus " all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of 
them." The wilderness exerts a peculiar magic at all hours 
but the strange fascination of this world increases as afternoon 
wanes and the evening light gradually comes over it. 


I drop in great windings into a region of wrinkled hills and 
emerge from the Judean Wilderness at the Jordan. An inviting 
green road leads me into Gilead. I ford the Jabbok as did Jacob. 
I look in vain for footprints of Jesus at Jerash (Gerasa), best 
preserved example of a Roman ff city-plan" I spend the night at 
Amman (Rabbath Ammon), capital of Trans-Jordan and center 
of the Arab camel-raising world. I have a window full of ruins! 
I wake to think of kings and crowns. 

NO longer contented to read what other people saw when 
they " looked over Jordan/ 5 I determined on another 
trip to the Bible lands to visit the country known since Bible 
days as " over Jordan/ 3 talk with its people, see how they live, 
and make the history of the ancient land come alive amid its 
pastoral setting. Each time my travel plans were discussed, I 
talked mostly of Trans- Jordan; each time someone asked my 
itinerary, I found myself answering, "I am going over 
Jordan. " 

The morning I set out from Jerusalem, we were quite a 
party: Jacob from the Holy City to guide us, Charlie from 
Kafr et Tur on Olivet to handle the big car, and four women: 
a thin one, which was Miss Craig, a plump one, Miss Stanley, 
a middle-sized one, Miss Beach, and myself with my whole 
eighty-nine pounds the smallest of them all but possessed of 
the biggest curiosity. 

The road to Jericho wound down through the bleak, almost 
terrifying Judean Wilderness, through fierce gorges and hills 
which roll dull and brown and stark far into distance. 

The nearer we drew to the Jordan, the more languid be- 


ijB Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

came the air and we gladly slipped from our heavy coats 
which we had needed earlier in the mountain-city of Jeru 
salem. We did not intend to visit Jericho of Joshua s day, 
nor Jericho of Herod s time and Cleopatra s fame, but we 
must pass through the banana groves and gardens on the out 
skirts of present-day Jericho and on through the straggling 
village to the strains of Oriental music from a phonograph in 
one of the street cafes. 

Palestine ends and Trans- Jordan begins at the bridge over 
the Jordan known as " Allenby Bridge." While the car, the 
driver, and our dragoman were going through customs for 
malities, we walked onto this iron-clad, army bridge. We saw 
the dull green of tangled thickets, ragged clumps of reeds and 
grasses, the sombre, silent flow of yellow muddy water. Some 
natives were bathing not far from the shelter of the bank. 
Their clothes were bright and colorful in the searching sun 
light. Was it some scene such as this when John baptized 
with water here? 

The inviting road beyond the immediate sterile waste of 
the Dead Sea into the foothills of Gilead ran up into a green 
and lovely valley, because the spring rains had spread a thin 
bloom of green over the plain, veiling the stony ground with 
a fair array of flowers. There was plenty to see along here 
. . . great flocks of storks, scattered herds of bleating, breed 
ing camels, many with their long-legged young grazing on the 
short grass, black lines of Bedouin tents spread out north and 
south, young goats leaping stiff-legged amid the tangle of 
tent ropes, sombrely-clad Moslem women busy with tasks un 
hampered by heavy silver bracelets, necklaces, or babies 
swinging on their backs, tall, graceful men accustomed to the 
vast spaces of this world and possessing a peculiar dignity and 
charm. We stopped but once and then for Jacob to gather us 
some fruit called " Sodom apples," so apparently good and 
luscious. We were each given one large, apple-like green 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 1 79 

fruit indigenous to this region. Imagine our surprise to find 
that each of our luscious-looking apples was only inflated skin! 

Beautiful to look upon, inviting to pluck, but when gath 
ered and opened are hollow inside, containing nothing. 

In only a short time we made the transition from modernity 
to the days of the Old Testament in both mind and spirit. 
We seemed now to be moving not through Trans- Jordan 
which was under British control although it had Abdullah, 
son of the late King Hussein, as its virtual king, but to be 
moving through Gilead of the days of Moses. 

A lovely, flowery wadi with luxuriant vegetation paralleled 
our motor road which was ascending rapidly this broad valley 
into high and treeless hills. This is Wadi Nimrim. A mur 
muring, limpid, clear brook winds down through fertilizing 
and making this land rejoice; a twinkling watercourse under a 
curtain of glistening green foliage and glowing pink oleanders 
" the willows of the brook " which contrasted with the nat 
ural setting of sun-baked rock. The smell of the rushing 
stream came fresh to our nostrils. Eagles circled on wide, 
straight wings, their heads and tails now in shadow, now daz 
zling bright in the sun as they veered lazily, mightily, circling 
farther and farther into the distance of the Gilead mountains. 
A lithe, swift, sure-footed fox picked his way from the moun 
tain fastnesses, stood silent as a sentinel at the edge of the road 
with his one foot lifted, nose keen to scent, ears alert to sound, 
eyes sharp, and then quickly he sped across the motor road to 
disappear into the protecting underbrush hard by the Wadi 

On farther in Gilead on sheltered slopes soaked in sunshine 
were shelves of wheat and barley; ridges were covered with 
some forests; valleys held orchards of pomegranates, fig trees, 
apricot, and silver-grey olive. We came upon an orchard of 
pomegranate trees in their natural habitat. I was reminded 
of this verse from the Song of Solomon : 

180 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" I went down into the garden of nuts, 
To see the green plants of the valley, 
To see whether the vine budded. 
And the pomegranates were in flower." 

(American Standard Version) 

This flowering shrub-like tree has bright red or white blos 
soms and a globular fruit. Cultivated everywhere in the Bible 
lands, it is indigenous to Gilead. Valued by the ancients, its 
juice was mingled with wine as a beverage; admired for its 
beauty, it was reproduced on the hem of the High Priest s 
robe and sculptured round the capitals of the pillars in Solo 
mon s Temple; prized today both for its fruit and its flowers, 
the latter are regarded superstitiously as a power against the 
" evil eye." 

This is a place for cattle, too. We understood now since 
we had " crossed over Jordan " why Reuben and Gad asked 
for this country saying, " The land is a land for cattle and thy 
servants have cattle/ George Adam Smith writes in Historical 
Geography of the Holy Land: "Flocks and pastures have 
ever been the wealth and charm and temptation of eastern 

Until one enters Trans- Jordan one rarely sees the genuine 
Bedouin. Here the tribes circulate from grazing ground to 
grazing ground, perpetuating the earliest customs of the chil 
dren of Israel. So long as they can find pasturage for the 
goats and enough food to keep the camels alive, they are 
happy. They pitch their tents where fancy strikes them, 
amongst the rocks of the countryside sometimes, because the 
goats can always find enough to appease their hunger. The 
Bedouin and their goats are closely bound together. They 
live almost exclusively from these animals; with many they 
are their pride and wealth; they drink their milk, eat their 
flesh; from their hair they weave the black cloth of their 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 181 

tents; the surplus they exchange for necessities such as salt, 
matches, cotton cloth. 

The goatherd plays a prominent part in Bedouin life. He 
plays on his reed from morn to night. His pipe is made from 
the tall reed or cane abounding on Jordan s banks, the " reed 
shaken by the wind " of Matthew 1 i, verse 7. In time the 
goats learn his strange symphony by heart and with his play 
ing he appears to have an unusual control over every member 
of the herd. 

The whole tribe works . . . men, women, babies, adoles 
cents, dogs, sheep, goats, camels . . . every single living crea 
ture has a function to perform in this scheme. The scenes in 
Trans- Jordan are pages from the Old Testament; they are the 
days of the patriarchs come to life. Someone has remarked 
that Abraham and Lot would be quite at home in any of 
these " tents of Kedar/ I quite believe it. Numbers and 
Deuteronomy, those usually dull Bible books for most people, 
take on a live significance after a journey here. The people 
of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were no 
mads, tent-dwellers, masters of flocks and herds, whose herds 
went wandering from pasture to pasture, just as nowadays 
in Trans- Jordan. 

The gentle art of hospitality is as vigorous as it was in the 
patriarchal days and it is never refused to wayfarers. 

The Bedouin cannot read nor write but their memories are 
better than those of the literate because they cannot reduce to 
writing the things they have to remember. Either they must 
store things up in their heads or else they must be forgotten. 
Hearing them recite for hours some old tribal legend is to 
know how the early stories of Genesis were circulated and pre 
served until committed to writing by various Bible historians. 
The patriarchs would be at home around any camp-fires in 
Trans- Jordan today, accustomed as they were to flocks and 
herds as an occupation, hospitality as a virtue, and story- 

1 82 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

telling as an effective method of teaching the younger genera 
tion tribal lore. With Western civilization encroaching upon 
the Bible lands, it is problematical just how long these vestiges 
of Bible days will continue in the future as they have done in 
the past. 

Story-telling, as every visitor who stays any length of time 
in the Holy Land knows, is an instinct. As the sun sets, story 
tellers among the Bedouin take up the thread of a legend the 
beginnings of which may be traced back thousands of years. 
But for the brief visitor to the Bible lands, Arabs may tell 
short stories much like this one. " What did Allah say when 
he had finished making a camel? He couldn t say anything; 
he just looked at the camel, and laughed, and laughed." 

In spite of the ridiculous appearance of this beast which is 
supposed to have made even Allah laugh, the hunch-backed 
ship of the desert always seems to me quite satisfied with 
himself. He has a look of supreme contempt for men, espe 
cially when he drops that pendulous lip, wrinkles that nose, 
and nonchalantly continues to chew his cud. 

Story-telling among the Bedouin is of a primitive nature, 
full of repetitions, possessing a simplicity. Jacob is a city- 
dweller, an Arab, yet he enjoys this pastime, too. Usually he 
likes to relate stories in the evening after dinner as we wait 
somewhere in Galilean hills or at the amphitheatre at Amman 
for the moon to come up or for those lustrous eyes of the 
night to be turned on in sparkling beauty. Sometimes as we 
hear the tinkle of the lead camel s bell in the distance, he tells 
me this story again. 

" Why does the camel despise his master? " After an im 
pressive pause during which I am supposed to be occupied 
with such an astounding situation, he shakes his head over 
this intolerable, shocking, irritating circumstance as a beast 
disgusted with his master, Jacob continues : " Because man 
only knows ninety-nine names for Allah, but the one hun- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 183 

dredth name, the beautiful name, the wonderful name for 
Allah was revealed only to the camel. Consequently, he 
scorns the whole race of men." 


There was one discordant note in this Old Testament scene 
that day. Its incongruity startled us all back for a time into 
the twentieth century. A motor bus, filled with Arabs, lung 
ing along this newly surfaced macadam road, passed us on its 
way to Amman. You can imagine with what mingled feel 
ings we watched this modern caravan of natives speed into 
the distance through the mountains of Gilead. It is only re 
cently that travel here has not been confined to horseback 
riding, donkeys, or camels. We were assured that motor bus 
travel is popular and that it has become a successfully op 
erated service between Jerusalem and Amman. 

One of the surprises on the voyage to Palestine was to see 
the large cargo of American-made busses which we carried as 
imports to the land of the camel caravan. 

I must confess that as much as I am accustomed to modern 
conveniences and enjoy the comfort of them in my own coun 
try, I did not mourn not having the opportunity to see any 
airplanes winging from Jordan to Amman, where the Royal 
Air Force maintains an aerodrome. Airplanes are the mod 
ern " chariots of fire " for passengers who like Elijah take off 
for the country " across Jordan." 

If I were a barker at the midway, instead of a Bible lec 
turer and traveller, I d begin right away to holler: " Hurry, 
HURRY, HU . . . RR . . . RY, if you want to see the 
land of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles before the 
twentieth century obliterates all traces of their occupation of 
the land." 

Presently we came to a bright little brook whose cool, clear 
water made a pretty murmur as it curved and gleamed 

1 84 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

through the wild gorge and gushed and plunged along to dis 
appear into other parts of the mountains of Gilead. We were 
in the deep, grand valley of the Wadi Zerka, or the Brook 
Jabbok, the boundary between Ammon and Gilead in Old 
Testament times. Yonder where the slopes were shaggy with 
oak trees was fought a memorable battle. There the army of 
Absalom went out to meet the army of his father David. 
There young Absalom rode upon his mule which " went under 
the thick boughs of a great oak and his head caught hold of 
the oak, and he was taken up between heaven and earth/ It 
is with pathos one remembers the story here. 

Down in this sunlit valley, where the smooth meadows 
spread fair and green, the River Jabbok dashes merrily 
through thickets of pink oleanders that border it in spring. 
We drew nearer. We must cross this swift, singing current of 
silvery water but there is no bridge. Neither was there any 
bridge when Jacob "rose up that night, and took his two 
wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and 
passed over the ford Jabbok." 

The ford was not deep; the spring rains had been over 
about a month. Our motor car slipped easily into the famous 
little river. The wheels scattered the waters into showers 
which glittered in the sunshine. " Can it be that this is the 
brook beside which a man once met God? " we asked of one 

Beyond midstream, almost to the other side, I asked Charlie 
to stop the motor. We opened the car doors and looked down 
to watch the current swirling merrily along over stones and 
pebbles. We reached down for handfuLs of stones; the water 
was fresh and cooL With the car standing in the riverbed, 
and here in the same ravine where occurred the story told in 
Genesis, Chapter 32, I read aloud this glorious narrative. 

It is good for man to be alone with nature and himself, to 
be in places where man is little and evidence of God is great. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 185 

So Jacob separated himself that night from his worldly pos 
sessions and his family, got alone with God out here where 
the " earth is full of His riches." He met God face to face in 
the grip of his spiritual testing when he realized he could not 
live without goodness and there was no lasting satisfaction nor 
reward from selfishness, greed, sin, and evil. He strove not 
with a human enemy but was seized by the spirit of Truth, 
who tarried with him until through his new enlarged con 
sciousness of Spirit and of spiritual power,- Jacob was helped 
on toward righteousness, peace, and purity. With his new 
understanding of right and wrong, he prevailed in this strug 
gle between the things of Spirit and the things of materiality 
and came off with a new name " Israel " and a new sense of 
being. No wonder Jacob called the spot " Peniel " because 
his changed life attests the reality of his experience and here 
indeed he saw the face of God. 

We were sure that we, too, met God face to face at the 
River Jabbok under the same sky which had sheltered Jacob 
because we saw Him in the flowers, the wild mountain crags ; 
we heard Him speak in the murmuring stream and the singing 
willow trees; we saw Him move in the lightness of the wing 
ing birds and the fleetness of the fox; we felt His touch in the 
soft breeze. 

Night was gone, the dark shadows of Jacob s agony lay be 
hind him. No wonder when the sun rose gloriously in the 
Wadi Jabbok on him the next morning that he was ready to 
go forward to meet Esau his brother coming with four hun 
dred men. It was a dawn flushed with the gold of a new 
hope. The unexpected gentleness and friendliness of Esau in 
the morning encounter inspired Jacob to say to him whom he 
had earlier wronged: " I have seen thy face, as though I had 
seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me." And 
as Jacob perceived the face of God even in the face of human 
kindness, I believe we perceived the same in the faces of one 

1 86 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

another. And so we said as Esau said, " Let us take our jour 
ney, and let us go." 

Ravines, abrupt descents, a series of sharp hairpin bends, 
an almost total absence of inhabitants and no villages now 
characterized the remainder of our journey. We attained 
one height only to be challenged by another. We missed the 
macadam and concrete roads. We passed through scores of 
road-builders who looked fierce, wild, and daring. 

We women, who seemed now to be in a civilization of men 
only, put up the car windows in self-defense. We suddenly 
felt that our pale faces, uncovered to the gaze of men not ac 
customed to such boldness, our keen interest in everything, 
our fearlessness in venturing into this inaccessible world with 
out male relatives were not understandable to men, who 
are still thinking, living, and conducting themselves as in the 
Bible days. I had never felt so far away from home in all my 
life as that morning. In fact, I had never been so far away 
from home. I silenced my fears long enough to remember 
that once upon a time in Israel s history this country through 
which we were travelling had been considered the dwelling 
place for Jehovah and that from those feeble beginnings of re 
ligious truth Israel had come to see and proclaim: "The 
earth is the Lord s and the fullness thereof." With my Bible 
to guide me in this strange new experience, it occurred to me 
that God had never moved out of the mountains of Gilead but 
was still here ever watchful, I soon discovered as we passed 
through these hordes who were engaged in making safe roads 
along mountain ridges barely wide enough for our car that 
their " Saidas " and " Assallams " were reassuring. We low 
ered our windows and called back " Saida " and " Assallam " 
to them. 

From one lofty point I glimpsed a zigzag road, our road to 
Jerash. Following it, soon there were columns on the ho 
rizon. They rise like a dream. Here was ancient Gerasa of 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 187 

Jesus 5 day, one of the famed cities of the Decapolis, waiting, 
deserted since 786 A. D. Passing the Triumphal Arch with its 
three gates and lofty Corinthian columns, we reached the 
verge of an oasis with well-watered gardens. We passed 
through a Circassian village and over a tiny bridge. Bridges 
I had crossed before in my travels but never any quite like 
this. It seemed a spiritual boundary separating the living 
from the dead; isolating sordid village life from the glories of 
ancient Greece and Rome. 

In May Jerash was a scene of loveliness. There were white 
columns massed against a cobalt sky. The silence of deser 
tion was eloquent. Yet it impressed us all as a place in which 
to linger, to meditate. Unanimously, we decided to delay 
exploration of this " towering wreck of Time," this model 
Roman city-plan, until we had had our lunch. 

The hotel in Jerusalem had packed each of us a delicious 
lunch basket containing fresh ham, roast chicken, three hard- 
boiled eggs, crusty bread, appetizing cucumber pickles, a 
wizened apple, a huge orange, and included bottles of clear, 
pure water. I had brought along an alcohol stove to boil 
water for tea. In looking about for a sheltered place to pro 
tect the slender flame, I found an alcove which had once shel 
tered a statue of a deity in the Temple of Zeus. So among 
the "high places" our tea was brewed. After a motor 
journey of ninety miles, it seemed that warm day a drink fit 
for the gods. We lingered over lunch, absorbing the refined 
beauty of a deserted city. It was quiet with the exaggerated 
stillness of desertion. We murmured of its long and varied 
history; we marvelled at its magnificence even now in its de 
parted glory. 


From the Forum, the market place, which corresponds to 
David Street in Jerusalem, the Agora of ancient Athens, or 

1 88 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the " Street called Straight " in Damascus, we set out upon 
Gerasa s main street. This exclusive shopping center is called 
today "The Street of Columns" because stately groups of 
tall pillars line this thoroughfare which is paved with huge 
blocks of paving stone. Seventy-five of the original five hun 
dred and twenty have withstood the ravages of time, earth 
quake, and plunder. I noticed that there was a high protected 
sidewalk for the safety of pedestrians. The traffic at night 
must have been heavy because the blocks of paving stone are 
worn in ruts as they are at Pompeii. Our streets in the West 
ern world grow quiet and deserted at night, are thronged 
with people and vehicles during the day. In this metropolis 
on the trade routes between Damascus, Arabia, India, Egypt, 
and the Mediterranean during the Roman period, owners of 
noisy carts were fined in the daytime for disturbing the peace 
ful slumbers of her inhabitants who spent their days in rest 
after a night of gayety. 

In thought we mingled with traders, petty officials, sol 
diers, and with the esteemed citizens of Gerasa, who were not 
always Greek by birth but choice; for many of them their 
mother-tongue was that of Peter, James, and John, but who 
through adoption had accepted Grecian ways and names. 
The lure of Greece had captured them. They were Hellenized 
and they gloried in their cultural progress. Is there a lesson 
at present-day Jerash? If so, it would seem to be that mate 
rial things, the very things in which most men lay their high 
est hopes, pass away. One of the splendid cities of the 
Decapolis, a federation of ten Greek cities east of the Jordan, 
it is now a dead city, almost forgotten except by a very few 
who study Roman " city-plans " of which this is the best pre 
served example, by those who travel just to see the beauty of 
arches, pillars, porticoes, domes, and noble edifices in the an 
cient world, and by some few who wonder if Jesus ever came 
this way and wandered through these streets. Broken col- 

S 1-5 2 

o *5 

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2 ft ** 

^ a s s 

O -3 S S S 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 189 

umns, remains of temples, empty streets are all that are left 
of cultural, corrupt, and pleasure-loving Gerasa; its govern 
ment, religion, and business are long since gone. 

We stopped for a moment at the Public Baths, a huge place 
resembling a palace with a marble dome. When the luxury- 
loving .Geraseans inhabited this place it was supplied with 
both cold and hot running water. 

There were theatres, too, as we could see from their domi 
nant places on the hillsides. This was the little Athens of the 
ancient world. In the now deserted seats beautiful women 
and distinguished-appearing men took their places in the re 
served seats. They watched with interest the comedies of 
Aristophanes, the tragedies of Aeschylus, and the newer 
" hits " from Alexandria. 

We needed no one to point the way to the Temple of 
Artemis, whose remains stand high on a massive platform on 
the hill to the left of the main street. Each morning in the 
first and second* centuries worshipful pilgrims climbed the 
steep steps of the Propylaea, a superb gateway which leads to 
the Temple. Here coppersmiths, sandal-makers, brokers, in 
fact all the citizens of Jerash gave their offerings to the Gre 
cian gods. The majestic flight of steps must have been a 
spiritual preparation for approach to the " high place." Not 
so long after this magnificent temple to a pagan god wa$ built, 
this city made the transition from paganism to Christianity. 
The Church of St. Theodore was dedicated in 494 A. D. Its 
interior is a jumbled mass today of fallen columns. The Ca 
thedral not far distant was completed in 375 A. D. 

After we made this discovery that Christianity had found a 
foothold here in this pagan stronghold, we four women set 
to speculating on whether or no Jesus ever really came to 
Gerasa when he went " over Jordan." Most pilgrims would 
like to find his footprints here, would like to imagine that 
when Jesus " came through the midst of the coasts of Decapo- 

i go Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

lis w he entered this stately Greek city, listened to opinions 
in the Forum, talked with the people, and saw something good 
in each of them. It seems so likely Jesus once walked through 
the " Street of Columns " to the Forum since he would 
scarcely have avoided the city during his Perean ministry 
that we were disappointed when we looked in vain among the 
ruins for a carving of the face of Jesus or something to show 
he had visited here. We found no more here to remind us of 
its brief acceptance of his gospel beyond the church and the 
cathedral than a marble fragment in the Museum upon 
which is carved a square cross with the circle (eternity) bear 
ing in its four corners the symbolic Greek letters, Alpha and 
Omega, and IG-XG. On an early Christian mosaic floor 
now preserved in the Museum can be seen one of the square 
crosses used by the early Byzantine church and one of the 
Latin crosses with its longer upright. These are the only wit 
nesses today of Christianity at Jerash. 

In recalling the hours we spent here, it seems to me that 
they were among the most hushed, most eloquent of my 
travels that year. With the vista of pavements, public baths, 
ruins of temples, theatres, elegant fountains, the Forum, and 
the houses spread before me in the dry golden sunshine, I 
seemed to hear the sobs, jokes, bargainings, commands, 
laughter, prattle of happy children, grumblings of the aged, 
the groaning of slaves, oratory of the actors in the theatres, the 
dim rumble of chariot wheels on the paving stones, and 
to smell the fragrance of the perfumes of Araby. Were they 
hushed hours because I had no actual companions here be 
side these three women, a guide, and a driver, and only these 
hushed voices breathed through the silence? Jerash is not like 
Pompeii with its scores and scores of tourists, making casual, 
meant-to-be-funny remarks. Yet human interest is not lack 
ing here. Were they eloquent hours because these hundreds 
of columns, small and gigantic, spoke of the longings of the 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 19 1 

inhabitants of this once famous, cultural center? The columns 
reveal a civic pride, a cultural ambition. It seems civilization 
has not changed her ambitions yet. Yes, Jerash speaks an 
eloquent story of the futility of wealth, culture, and corruption 
as men s sole aims; Jerash has a story for mankind to hear. 


From here to Amman, I don t remember that we talked a 
great deal among ourselves. I do remember that I stole 
" forty winks " along an uninteresting stretch of road. I 
awoke refreshed and ready to explore the sights of Amman, 
Philadelphia in Jesus 5 day, Rabbath Ammon of David s time. 
We came swiftly into the present capital of Trans- Jordan and 
the place of the official residence of King Abdullah. 

This second son o King Hussein of the Hejaz had been 
since 1921 maintaining a sort of independence as the head of 
an Arab state set up within the Palestine Mandate yet 
separate from Palestine. He administered the government 
with the assistance of a "council of advisors" and a legislative 
assembly of elected deputies and together they worked under 
the direction of the British High Commissioner for Palestine. 
His land is larger than Palestine, largely desert, but well- 
watered. Most of his people are nomadic Arabs and all but 
some twenty thousand of the three hundred thousand are 
Moslem. In 1946, Abdullah became king. 


As we motored through the main street of Amman we 
found it to be a strange admixture of East and West because 
modern motor cars alongside oxcarts and Bedouin caravans 
of asses and camels vie with the picturesque natives for a place 
in a street which is not paved. With its very great activity, it 
seemed to me to be a lively, busy shopping center. Shopping 
is always an adventure in an Eastern city in any age. Amman 

1 92 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

is still on the trade route of India, Arabia, Jerusalem, and 
Baghdad. Perfumes, silks, rare rugs, silver bangles, lovely 
gems. Surely all of them would be awaiting us here. 

After registering in at the modern three-story Hotel Phila 
delphia, I hustled with my companions to the bazaar. I 
searched up one side and down the other and into narrow 
byways with their stalls of vegetables and fruits* I peeked 
into dimly lighted stalls ; I gestured, but in vain I searched for 
something smacking of " Trans- Jordan " to buy to show off 
later in America. The bazaar of this present-day Arab me 
tropolis at close range is no attraction to tourists. It offers 
much to an Arab sheik because there on display in the open 
air with its dust and flies are all the savory delicacies which 
tempt his appetite even a stuffed sheep s head with glaring 
eyes and bared teeth. This is the town where camel-ships 
stock up with desert delights. 

I saw one " Ad " for the Singer Sewing Machine high up 
on a building. I saw more cucumbers than I would have be 
lieved were grown in one year in the world. I guessed that 
the prophet Isaiah was thinking of Trans- Jordan and espe 
cially Amman when he talked of " a garden of cucumbers." 
I saw plenty of Japanese stuffs, cheap cotton goods, and brass 
camel bells. 

Finally, our purchases consisted of a few postcards, a half 
dozen oranges, and a bottle of cologne made in Syria. This 
latter we bought at a corner drugstore to ward off fleas and 
disagreeable odors which seemed a trifle overwhelming since 
Amman was taken over by the cameleers who had brought 
their herds in for next morning s market. Amman is the cen 
ter of the camel raising world; the city was noisy with the 
grunting of the disgruntled animals. The presence of sheep 
and camels recalled Ezekiel s prophecy: "And I will make 
Rabbath a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching 
place for flocks/ 5 But about that drugstore ... a returned 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 193 

Arab son had seen in America drugstores specializing in 
everything from drugs to cookstoves. So here on the very 
edge of the desert he has set up his emporium to cater to the 
catholic tastes of the natives. By the way, the cologne " Flow 
ers of Araby," made in Syria, was the most lasting perfume I 
have ever bought. 

I returned to our hotel, disappointed in what the bazaar 
had to offer and ready rfow to investigate the attractions of 
the Hotel Philadelphia. The proprietor in excellent English 
informed me that the hotel was not named after the Ameri 
can city but that Philadelphia had been the name of the 
Arabian metropolis when it was a commercial center of the 
Decapolis in the first century. The city was then so called 
after and in honor of Ptolemy Philadelphus. 

We sat down in a chilly, tiled-floor lounge with its chairs 
all neatly arranged round the walls of the room. We thought 
to write postcards to America or to play a game of cards as 
we waited for dinner at eight to be announced. We needed a 
light. And there was light . . . from a single hanging elec 
tric bulb! 

From a near-by room we heard a familiar sound, the 
whirr of a dial telephone. Then we heard the voice of Dr. 
Nelson Glueck from Cincinnati, Ohio, then the Director of 
The American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem as 
he talked with his wife. Private telephone booths have not 
yet been installed in Trans- Jordan. His explanation later at 
dinner that he had just talked with Mrs. Glueck and was 
going up to Jerusalem to spend a few days was quite unneces 
sary because his voice which was pitched for a none-too-clear 
telephonic connection had penetrated to the farthest corners 
of this hotel. Dr. Glueck had just come up from Akabah, 
where he had been excavating some remarkable evidence on 
early Hebrew history, and the origins of Solomon s wealth. 
Even Arabian sheiks are becoming accustomed to sliding from 

194 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the hairy humps of their camels and dialing telephone num 
bers. Electric lights and the telephone, twin marvels of the 
twentieth century, have arrived in the heart of the Arab 

And dinner? We questioned among ourselves whether the 
many successive courses of Arabian food would ever cease, 
because this hotel on the edge of the desert is nothing less 
than generous in quantity and variety. 

Some readers are probably speculating on our bedrooms. 
We were amazed at their cleanliness and their good, com 
fortable furnishings. The tall wardrobe would have hidden 
me in an emergency. There were twin beds; even hot and 
cold running water. Our clean, white beds were tempting. 
It wasn t long after nine o clock that all the beds had occu 

The night was clear; the moon was high; the air was crisp 
as nights always are in this part of the world. I turned off 
the electric light and stepped to open the lattice of my win 
dow. I stood entranced. I HAD A WINDOW FULL OF 
RUINS ! In the night s beauty lay the amphitheatre of an 
cient Philadelphia. It is a splendidly preserved Graeco- 
Roman theatre built into the rocky hillside. Dramas were 
presented here before audiences of four thousand people in 
the third century before Christ. I looked along these lofty 
tiers of seats. In the clear starlight I thought I saw shadowy 
figures sitting there; I thought I heard light whispers and the 
ripple of clapping hands. I couldn t catch the flash of wit, I 
couldn t hear the tragic words which stirred them to applause. 
I wondered is it a comedy of Plautus, or Terence, or Aris 
tophanes or Menander? or is it a tragedy of Seneca? What is 
this night s attraction? I shall never know. The play at 
Philadelphia was ended. There were gay times in this ancient 
city when this theatre was filled with people. 

The lights outside twinkled, one above another on the hill* 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 195 

side; above them were the stars; on the hilltop burned a soli 
tary light in the home of the son of Emir Abdullah. All was 
silence. I lay me down to sleep and dream. 

At intervals I heard the dogs salute the stars in chorus. 
Far, far away a leader lifted a howling, wailing, shrieking 
note and then the mysterious unrest that torments the bosom 
of Oriental dogdom broke loose in a hundred answering 
voices, which swelled into a yapping, howling discord. Sud 
den silences cut into the tumult until some mystery which 
alone stirs the canine heart burst out again into a dissonance. 
As dawn approached, the donkeys raised their long lament; 
cocks crew; and then with the burst of the sun I heard men 
disputing and the thousand meaningless shouts and cries of an 
awakening foreign city. The Arab world arose to work. I 
was in a strange land and very far from home. 

I awoke to think of kings and crowns because this happened 
to be Coronation Day, May 12th, throughout the British 
Empire. At the Citadel I was reminded that once King 
David of Israel came here when Rabbath Ammon, royal city 
of the Ammonites, was ready to acknowledge defeat at the 
hand of David s general Joab. At the moment of victory 
which was to extend Israel s boundaries considerably, David 
was far away in his mountain-capital city of Jerusalem enjoy 
ing the illicit love at Bathsheba. During one of the attacks 
upon the Ammonites, Bathsheba s husband Uriah, who was a 
victim of foul play, surrendered his own life while serving his 
trusted sovereign s interests. When notified of victory, David 
with additional troops came hurrying down through the 
Judean Wilderness, across Jordan, and up against Rabbath 
Ammon in answer to Joab s request for reinforcements. Tak 
ing the city in his own name, David had placed upon his head 
the crown of the king of Ammon which, by the way, weighed 
" a talent of gold [about twelve pounds] with the precious 

196 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

It was with these reminders of David s early acquisition of 
this city and the whole territory of the Ammonites as a part 
of his far-flung empire and of that crown which he had had 
placed upon his head that I left Amman for Jerusalem. I 
wanted to be in the Holy City that evening for the celebration 
in honor of the coronation of another monarch, King George 
VI of England. 


/ look back upon Jerusalem from the Nablus Road. Every 
little hill north to Samaria carries the ghost of a Bible city: 
Gibeah, Nob, Ramah, Mizpah, Beeroth, Bethel,, and Shiloh. I 
rest at Jacob s Well, go to Shechem, climb the hill of Samaria, 
and walk its deserted streets with thoughts of Ahab, Jezebel^ 
Elijah^ and Herod. 

THE road to Samaria led around the city; through Ma- 
millah Road, it descended from the mountains upon 
which Jerusalem is built down past the Damascus Gate and 
along the Old Wall to the Quarry, Herod s Gate, and then up 
another hill onto the well-surfaced Nablus Road. It was 
from the hill at the beginning of the north road, just at the 
top before it dips down into the Kidron Valley, close by the 
Mount of Olives, that I looked back upon the Holy City. I 
saw a walled city of domes and towers, sleeping in the sun 
shine, full of earthly dreams and disappointments, and pos 
sessing yet the beauty of a " high place/ Previously I had 
looked down upon the Old City from the Mount of Olives 
both by moonlight and when the early morning sun lights up 
the Dome of the Rock, but I felt on this day, as I still do 
today, that Jerusalem could not be more beautiful than when 
seen from the Nablus Road. As I looked back I was reminded 
of that passage from the Psalms beginning " If I forget thee, 
O Jerusalem. 3 One does not readily forget Jerusalem, 


The highway northward twisted and turned through land 
that was hilly and rugged but gay with spring flowers; now 
up and now down it led into the country of the tribe of 


198 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Benjamin. Almost every little hill carried on its crest a little 
village, usually a ghost of a Bible city. Just out of Jerusalem s 
new suburbs, it seemed, I looked across to Nebi Samwil s one 
white tower against the sky, the loftiest " watch " in Judea. 

Some three miles out of Jerusalem, we passed a bare hill 
towering up high, but once Gibeah, where Israel s first king, 
Saul, with fine judgment built a strong fortress and made his 
home and royal residence. We sped past Nob, the home of 
the priests and whither David fled for refuge. A few minutes 
beyond, the road bent sharply to the right and I saw a white 
track leading away over a green sea and another crossing this 
grassy plain leading into an opposite direction. The first was 
the road over which Paul was led by night to the seacoast at 
Gaesarea and the other was the old Roman road leading north 
to Damascus over which Paul travelled on his mission of per 

Another mile or so farther we passed Ramah, Samuel s 
birthplace and burial-place. It is a small village resting on 

the horizon. When I had read that Samuel went on circuit 
judging Israel from Ramah, to Bethel, to Mizpah, and back 
again, I had thought of a long journey. As a matter of fact, 
he was never more than fifteen miles from his home. 

Now high and charming on its hilltop loomed Mizpah 
where Samuel called Israel and offered sacrifice before Je 
hovah, and where he chose Saul as the first king of Israel. 
Here for the first time "God save the King" rang through 
their ranks. We left Mizpah behind us. 

Eight miles from Jerusalem we began to climb a little hill 
and came into ancient Beeroth, now El-Bireh, one of the 
earliest towns that Joshua entered. We had come this far in 
perhaps fifteen minutes; this short distance was considered in 
New Testament times a day s journey from Jerusalem sev 
eral hours walk or donkey ride. The ruins of an old khan y 
and a plentiful fountain spoke of its suitability as a stopping- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 199 

place for pilgrims bound north. Caravans getting a late start 
from the Holy City after a festival usually reached Beeroth the 
first day. It was while camping here that Joseph and Mary 
discovered the child Jesus was not among the company of 
Passover pilgrims bound for Nazareth. From here for the last 
time I looked back on Jerusalem. Her distant domes were a 

Leaving Beeroth, we came into the stoniest section I had 
yet seen in Palestine. Nothing strikes the eye but rocks, huge 
and tangled masses of rock, scattered everywhere with an oc 
casional daisy, red anemone, or blade of green grass pushing 
up among them, wherever they can find a foothold among the 
stones. Bethel, three miles off the road, tempted me. It 
brought up the name of youthful Jacob who here while on his 
way to Haran tarried overnight, slept under the stars, using a 
stone for a pillow. Except for a stone there is little room for 
a man s head anywhere. " And he dreamed, and behold, a 
ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to 
heaven : and behold the angels of God ascending and descend 
ing on it." 

Here Jacob prayed, but that is not all that happened. At 
Bethel the Ark once rested, Samuel held court, Elisha taught, 
Jeroboam set up his golden calf and rival altar to the Temple, 
and hither came Amos from Tekoa denouncing the northern 
kingdom s paganism and idolatry. A miserable hamlet of 
half-ruined stone huts on a terraced hill, stone walls enclosing 
fields of scattered loose stones this is modern Beitin on the 
site of ancient Bethel or " House of God." 

North of Bethel the country changed. The road dipped 
into green valleys and climbed hills terraced with rock fences 
which held enough ground to grow olive trees and vines. On 
a rough slope Shiloh greeted us. The Arab village of Seilun 
sits calmly over remarkable Bible history. After the conquest 
of Canaan by Joshua, the twelve tribes met together in confer- 

200 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ence at Shiloh. Here where the Ark was kept for four cen 
turies,, Eli, the High Priest, lived and ministered. It was at the 
sanctuary at Shiloh that Hannah in remarkable faith prayed 
and later sang her song of thanksgiving; because her prayer 
was answered, she later brought her son Samuel and commit 
ting him to the charge of Eli to be trained for prophethood, 
dedicated her child solely to Jehovah. Near-by where the 
Ark of Covenant had been kept within the Tabernacle, aged 
Eli waited all that fateful day for the sacred Ark that had 
gone down to battle. After his death and the loss of the Ark, 
the Tabernacle was removed to Nob. After that Shiloh seems 
to have been forgotten and disappears from history. 

The sixteen miles from Shiloh to Shechem repeated with 
increasing frequency views of valley, ravine, and mountain- 
top. Climbing onto another hill we came out all of a sudden 
on top of the world. The road went running out onto the 
warm, green, and fertile Plain of El Mukhnah, cuddled by 
the terraced mountains of Samaria rich with olive orchards 
and vineyards. We pressed forward to two rounded hills 
Ebal and Gerizim separated by a white track and came to 
some trees on the right side of the road shading a half-fin 
ished church standing over Jacob s Well. 

Along this road one summer day came Jesus on his way to 
Galilee. He reached this spot where several old roads met 
and sat down beside the well to rest while John, James, An 
drew, Peter, Philip, and Bartholomew went to the neighboring 
village of Sychar to buy food. 

Today, as in Bible days, a well is a good resting-place on a 
journey. I found this place quiet and pleasant. Even the 
beggars outside the high wall were somewhat subdued by its 
silence. They begged, yes, but not blatantly. I stepped 
through a door into the court and followed a priest down a 
few steps into a chapel surrounding the well. He held a 
dripping candle over it that I might see that it still contained 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 201 

water. Then winding up a little dripping bucket, he offered 
me a cooling drink from the same well which Jacob dug when 
he was at Shechem and where Jesus talked in symbols of liv 
ing water. 

Outside in the sunshine., I sat down and my New Testa 
ment opened itself to the fourth chapter of John. There are 
points in this narrative which when I read it on the spot coin 
cided remarkably with the scenery. The Arab village of 
Askar, the location of ancient Sychar, lay in plain view across 
the eastern valley on the stony eastern slope of Mount EbaL 
Sitting beside the well, weary from walking the long, tiring 
road over the hills from Judea, Jesus could have watched his 
disciples all the way to the village and could have seen the 
woman with the water-pot on her head as she passed them on 
her way to the sacred well, 

As he waited and thirsted, the Samaritan woman drew 
nearer and coming up, Jesus spoke to her. 

" Give me to drink/ 3 

Simply and gently, Jesus began his conversation on spiritual 
verities; step by step, he led her on into a discussion of God. 
The unknown, unfriendly, and unhappy woman of a hated 
race revealed to him then her eagerness to know God and her 
perplexity over how to find Him. Discussing the competing 
claims of Gerizim and Jerusalem, she said, cc Our fathers 
worshipped in this mountain," indicating towering Gerizim; 
" the Jews say in Jerusalem," pointing south, " is the place 
where men ought to worship." The steep flanks of naked 
Gerizim rose a few hundred feet across the road from where I 
was sitting. With words that have been a spring of living 
water to weary, seeking individuals ever since, Jesus answered 
her, " Neither for God is Spirit." He was trying to tell her: 
" not a tribal God, not a Jewish God, not a Samaritan God; " 
he might be telling us: "not a British God, not a German 
God, nor an American God but a universal God. God is 

2O2 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Spirit, and His worship cannot be confined to any building 
whether it be the Temple in Jerusalem or the sanctuary on 
Gerizim, but they that worship Him must worship Him in 
spirit and in truth." 

When the woman of Samaria at the well pointed to 
Gerizim, saying, " Our fathers worshipped in this mountain/ 3 
she was true to tradition. Gerizim has been their holy moun 
tain as Moriah has been for the Jew. Here they think Abra 
ham would have offered Isaac, here they are sure is Jacob s 
Bethel, and here they read Joshua pledged the Israelites to 

Annually on the mountain which loomed before me the 
celebration of the Passover as set forth in the Pentateuch is 
observed by a remnant of Samaritans dwelling on the outskirts 
of Nablus. These people believe themselves the descendants 
of the Exodus, but in truth they have little Hebrew blood in 
their veins. 

The Samaritans have had a long and variety history. After 
the capture of the northern kingdom in 722 B. a by Sargon II 
only a remnant was left behind when all the chief inhabitants, 
some thirty thousand Israelites, were carried off into captivity. 
Subject-peoples from ten races were imported by the As 
syrians and planted in the ruined and evacuated cities of 
Samaria in place of the exiled Israelites. Idolatry, strange 
customs, traditions, and religious rites of the East were intro 
duced by the colonists and mingled with Jewish tenets. The 
result was an offensive religion to the Jews. Meantime these 
strangers intermarried not only among themselves but with 
the remaining Israelites. The result in the following centuries 
from the. amalgamation of all these races was a new national 
ity a race of Samaritans. 

With the return of Judean exiles to Jerusalem at the time 
when Samaritan aid in rebuilding the city was refused be 
cause of what Ezra and Nehemiah considered their apostasy 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 203 

from true religion, a bitter, hostile attitude arose between 
them. The antipathy which was rooted in difference in race 
as well as religion became deeper between Jew and Samaritan. 
When the Samaritan women questioned Jesus, " How is it 
that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a 
woman of Samaria? " she revealed the prejudice existing be 
tween the two peoples yet in New Testament times. But to 
the woman of a race that his countrymen hated, Jesus re 
vealed one of his greatest truths. Knowing the enmity be 
tween Jew and Samaritan, he preferred as a rule to make his 
journey between Galilee and Jerusalem east of Jordan. Thus 
on all but a few occasions he avoided this unfriendly territory. 
He built his parable of the good Samaritan around one of 
that despised race who succored the wounded and stricken 
traveller. It was a Samaritan, one of the ten lepers, Jesus 
healed, who returned to give thanks. Yet withal his example 
of " Love thy enemies " and his breaking down of artificial 
barriers of race and religion which divide man from man, the 
prejudice which began in reality as far back as when Sol 
omon s kingdom was divided between Jeroboam and Reho- 
boam, intensified during the Exile and Return, is evident 
today among this dwindling tribe generally regarded as a 
peculiar people who are contending for Gerizim against the 


We followed the narrow, deep pass separating the two fa 
mous mountains, Ebal and Gerizim, to where ancient 
Shechem (Balata) lay huddled against Nablus in a well- 
watered valley. This hollow between the two mountains 
forms an almost perfect amphitheatre. Here the tribes of Is 
rael may have gathered while the priests chanted the curses of 
the Law from Ebal and blessings from Gerizim. The cliffs 
were sounding boards and sent out the loud voices to all parts 

204 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

of the Vale of Shechem. It was easy to imagine the scene. 
The Ark of Israel was placed in this valley, guarded by the 
priests. The tribes with their elders and judges were on this 
side and that of the Ark, half of them ~ ranged on Mount 
Gerizim responding joyously to the promised blessings, the 
other half stood on Mount Ebal re-echoing threatened curses, 
while loud " Amens " uttered by the whole congregation re 
sounded from hill to hill. But this day there was no Ark and 
the children of Israel are scattered. Instead Arabs worked in 
fields and orchards. The ancient pasture-land of Jacob yields 
an abundant harvest of wheat and barley, a good supply of 
beans and lentils, and a wealth of wild flowers on every uncul 
tivated patch of ground. Black goats were climbing Gerizim, 
browsing on the scanty and prickly pasture that springs up 
among rocks and stones. Gerizim s lower flanks were ter 
raced for extensive olive orchards. 

Shechem has had a lengthy and interesting history. It is 
the first town in Palestine to be mentioned in connection with 
the Hebrews. When Abraham left Haran with Sarah, his 
wife, and Lot, his brother s son, it was their first halting-place 
after they had passed over Jordan and entered Canaan. Be 
fore leaving it to go on to Bethel, Abraham erected his first 
altar to Jehovah under an oak tree where it is said " the Lord 
appeared unto him." So Shechem is the first place at which 
the Hebrews worshipped in the Promised Land. 

To this same neighborhood where his grandfather had 
pitched his tent, Jacob was attracted. Here he dwelt for a 
time with Leah and Rachel, and their handmaidens and men- 
servants and womenservants ; his wealth like that of the 
Bedouin sheik today consisted of " flocks and herds and 

After Israel s sojourn in Egypt and wanderings through 
Sinai, Joseph s bones which they had carried with them some 
forty years were finally laid to rest in that " parcel of ground " 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 205 

which had been purchased by Jacob from the children of 
Hamor. The white dome of the little mosque at Joseph s 
Tomb on the side of Ebal can be seen from the well dug by 
his father. 

At Shechem, ten of the tribes renounced the house of David 
and transferred their allegiance to Jeroboam. From that time 
on its history has been blended with that of the Samaritans. 


Six miles beyond Nablus, we turned off the main road to 
climb the great hill of Samaria itself. It was noon. We de 
cided to delay visiting the excavated historic stronghold until 
after lunch. We opened our picnic basket in an orchard of 
olive trees whose scarred old trunks bore up their delicate 
foliage with the ground beneath them covered with a gay car 
pet. These may have been young trees but they looked old. 
The trunks as usual were knotted and gnarled or twisted into 
fantastic shapes. In some were great hollows in the center of 
the trunks and these were filled with stones to give the neces 
sary stability. Twisted, weather-beaten trees leaning on stone 
supports are strongly reminiscent of age and dignity. 

Fortified with lunch, a brief siesta under an olive tree, and 
a quick rehearsal of the major events in the history of Sa 
maria, we drove on along a wretched, zigzag road to the 
squalid village of Sebastieh where we left the car. 


Until this day I had seen this immense and lofty hill only 
from the main highway, as it rises some five hundred feet 
above the plain. The situation of Samaria is very beautiful 
indeed in a quiet and peaceful way. In the center of a fertile 
basin rises this rounded, terraced hill, which before the days 
of gunpowder must have been almost impregnable. Difficult 
to be taken by assault, it has been starved out more than once. 

206 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Upon the summit stood the luxurious capital which Isaiah 
called " the crown of pride " of the northern Hebrew king 
dom, the " flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head 
of the fat valley." Even now the circle of surrounding valleys 
is " fat " with olive orchards and hillsides covered with vines 
and wild flowers, and from the western gate is a charming 
view of hills and dales to the Mediterranean Sea where a 
golden strip of sand marks the site of a later capital, 
Caesarea. Doubtless, Jezebel often looked out from Ahab s 
palace with a wave of homesickness for the Great Sea whose 
waves beat upon the coast of her native Phoenicia. 

This stronghold has been oftener under the grip of heathen 
masters and heathen faiths than any other city in Palestine. 
Its important history began about 875 B. c. when Omri be 
came the original purchaser of the site for a strategically- 
placed capital city for two talents of silver or about 
thirty-nine hundred dollars. Under the Roman level it is 
quite possible to see remnants of masonry dating from the time 
when Omri built extensively on this Acropolis. Nowhere in 
Palestine have remains of Israelitish masonry been found com 
parable to that in Samaria beautiful, long, squared stones, 
walls occasionally ten feet thick, residences built in conformity 
to the native rock-contours which were filled up to give each 
room a level floor. Omri knew where to build and loved wide 
prospects the glory of Samaria was the view over the Sa 
maritan highlands to the sea but it was Ahab who made 
the city a metropolis with a sophisticated population. 

OmrTs son, Ahab, was one Israelite king who loved beauti 
ful things. It was he who beautified Samaria with a lovely 
" ivory house " for his infamous queen. The thorough ex 
cavation which this site has undergone has revealed remnants 
of these ivories which were used effectively in ninth-century 
B, c. interior decoration. The famous ivories that I saw in the 
Palestine Museum in Jerusalem were found by Crowfoot in 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 207 

1933 near the recovered site of Ahab s palace above Omri s 
palace on the Acropolis and give tangible proof of their real 
ity. Most Bible students in reading of the " houses of ivory " 
have thought it was a figure of speech referring perhaps to 
the dazzling whiteness of the masonry or perhaps to whole 
palaces and their furnishings of ivory. But that Ahab s palace 
was decorated with panels of ivory let into the wainscoting of 
the walls as friezes and that the furniture was decorated with 
delicately carved ivory pieces, sometimes overlaid with gold 
leaf, set into the framework like Damascus furniture is inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl, is not an exaggeration. Although Sa 
maria was destroyed in 722 B. c. after a three-year siege by 
the Assyrians, by good fortune some ivories escaped destruc 
tion and are sufficiently well preserved to reveal their beauty. 

At what the guide called " JezebeFs Tower/* a magnificent 
ruin of a round tower, I began to think of the princess from 
Sidon who became the wife of Ahab. Jezebel was the most 
colorful as well as the most unscrupulous queen who reigned 
in Samaria. She encouraged its society to acquire a taste for 
jewels, earrings, ivory inlays, lovely furniture, perfumes, fine 
needlework, and wine, while at the same time among these 
sophisticates she cleverly conducted a campaign for the gods 
of Phoenicia. Not content with a shrine built in honor of 
Baal at Samaria, she wanted to see Baal supreme in Israel. 
Baal- worship swept like a flood over Samaria and in time the 
foreign cult had transformed the Kingdom of Israel into 
everything that was vile and impious. 

Elijah was the first of the Hebrew prophets who came into 
the northern kingdom to denounce Ahab s apostasy, to con 
demn Israel s frivolity, waste, and exploitation, and to argue 
for the purity of the Hebrew faith. This champion of Je 
hovah-worship was followed by Elisha who brought to an end 
the Omri-Ahab dynasty by sending a deputy to anoint Jehu 
as the future king. It was against this background of wealth 

208 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

and splendor begun during Ahab s reign and encouraged by 
later monarchs ivory houses, palaces of hewn stone, ivory 
couches, wine, and revelry that Amos saw in sharp contrast 
the conditions of the poor, who were trampled, set aside, and 
exploited on all sides by the rich. During the reign of 
Jeroboam II, the nation reached its peak of prosperity, but 
Amos denounced its ease and luxury, argued for social right 
eousness, attacked its paganism and idolatry, and called for a 
return to true worship. It was Amos sermon on " justice " 
that led Hosea some years later to begin preaching in Israel, 
calling upon them to " return unto God, for the ways of the 
Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them." 

The Assyrian restoration of Samaria has been unearthed 
over the remains of Jeroboam s city. Remains of a Greek 
city were found over that. Then came the city which Herod 
the Great built and which Jesus must have looked upon when 
he used the route through Samaria from Jerusalem to Galilee. 
These impressive ruins are still above ground for all to walk 


Samaria s Bible history ends with Herod, who built 
here a temple to Augustus Caesar on the site of an early tem 
ple to Baal. He not only fortified it but erected upon the 
Acropolis a palace, a race course, and a magnificent " Street 
of Columns." 

I took the colonnaded street, which was the main thorough 
fare to the west, until I reached the ancient city gate flanked 
by two round towers high above the sudden drop of the 
mountain to the green, flat plain below. At this gate the 
lepers lay at the time when Ben-hadad, the Syrian, besieged 
the town so long that famine stalked its streets and women ate 
their children. From here they crept down into the enemy s 
camp, found it empty, and returned again to tell the good 
news that Ben-hadad s army had fled. 

These columns are the most prominent objects today at Sa- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 209 

maria. Some as I have indicated are still standing in their 
original positions along the road. Many are built into walls 
and houses of the Arab village of Sebastieh. A multitude lie 
where they fell, broken, weathered, and half-covered with 
earth among carved sarcophagi and heavy foundations of 
long-vanished buildings. 

Samaria today is a heap of broken stones, fallen pillars, and 
crumbled masonry. The present village is built at the east 
end of the hill on rubbish and of rubbish. The city of Omri 
and Herod, for all its beautiful situation and surrounding fer 
tility, has fallen from ruin to ruin, has become a desolate ruin, 
"even as it was foretold by the prophet Micah. 

" I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as places 
for planting vineyards; and I will pour down the stones thereof 
into the valley, and I will uncover the foundations thereof." 
MIGAH i : 6 (American Standard Version) . 


Galilee s mountains, valleys, great plain, springs, and her sea 
combine to help me realize why this region was " the place He 
loved so much to be" I have lunch on Esdraelon in view of 
Gilboa, Little Hermon, and Tabor, come into the noisy world of 
Nazareth to find a well, a hilltop, and a carpenter shop. At 
Cana, the beggars remind me of the mobs who crowded Jesus at 
the wedding feast; the ec lilies of the field 3 growing on the 
Horns of Hattin recall the Sermon on the Mount; my first 
glimpse of Galilee reveals it as blue and beautiful as my dreams. 
I go to Tabgha, watch fishermen, eat fe Peter s fish," and experi 
ence a storm on Galilee. I stay with the nuns on the Mount of 
Beatitudes, meet some Bedouin children who take me home to a 
goat-hair tent. At Capernaum I see the excavated ruins of an 
old synagogue, the site of Peter s house and read parables by the 
sea. The Plain of Gennesaret is like a vast green garden. Mag- 
data is only a wretched village. 

ALILEE is a word which awakens in the mind of every 
VJT Christian the most sacred and tender memories. At the 
sound of the word memory kindles as does the earth in 
spring until past days rise again for visioning. It calls up the 
family and the early home of Jesus and the scenes of the 
large part of his three years* active ministry. One remembers 
Nazareth, the City of the Carpenter; Cana, the site of the 
first miracle after Jesus baptism by John; Capernaum, "his 
own city 95 ; Tiberias, which still remains from the days of 
Herod Antipas whom Jesus called " that fox " ; and finally, 
the quiet lake upon which the Master sailed, by which he 
taught, and " did many mighty works." 
Anyone who has been to the Holy Land, to Galilee, adds 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 211 

more visions. Immediately he sees a sweet mother holding in 
her arms a swaddled infant as she stands in the doorway of a 
square, flat-roofed building of gleaming white stone; a car 
penter shop such as Jesus knew; three camels trekking slowly 
along the highway as did those earlier three who bore the Wise 
Men from the East. He thinks again of dim bazaars and 
highways where folk go sandal-shod or barefoot; of graceful 
Nazareth daughters with their slim-necked water jars; of an 
other Joseph leading a donkey who bears another Mary and 
her child. He dreams of domes and towers glistening under 
neath the Syrian sun; of lovely flowers, yea, " the lilies of the 
field " in splendid crimson, nodding in the soft sweet breeze; 
of olive trees which silver in the gathering darkness hour by 
hour; of a tiny bay with water lapping gently gainst a shore 
where on the slopes a multitude in vision sit among red, blue, 
yellow, and white wild flowers unsurpassably lovely; of a vil 
lage well and rendezvous. He seems to hear again the rip 
pling laughter in a humble* home; the sound of tumbling 
bells on camels and sheep; a lilting desert melody older than 
time played by a minstrel Bedouin-boy. 

Since a child, Galilee had loomed very large in my imagina 
tion. Now, when I was actually on my way there, questions 
filled my thought and kept me silent the nearer we drew to 
the border. Would the centuries roll backward like a scroll 
and would Jesus walk again in Galilee? Would its natural 
beauty, its mountains, valleys, great plain, copious springs, 
and the sea help one to realize why this was the place he 
loved so much to be? Would there be anything left to re 
mind one of when he dwelt here and its paths knew his feet 
and the woods echoed to his voice? I would soon know. 


From Dothan which was one of the ancient strongholds of 
Samaria, I approached the mouth of the pass which leads 

212 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

directly onto the Plain of Esdraelon. The little village which 
guards it is Jenin, which never in all its history has been a 
fortress because it was strong only in water. We hesitated 
at Jenin, a frontier town separating Samaria from Galilee dur 
ing New Testament times. It impresses one as not only a 
boundary between two provinces but as marking the end of 
an old order and the beginning of a new. Hitherto travelling 
in Palestine I had been concerned chiefly as I journeyed with 
memories of bloody battles, faithful heroes, and thunderous 
prophets, stories from the Old Testament. From now on I 
would pass rapidly from the beginnings of Israel to the be 
ginnings of Christianity as found in the stories of the New 
Testament. Here at Jenin tradition places the healing of the 
ten lepers of whom only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. 
From now on, the farther I travelled into Galilee the more I 
would be concerned with the teachings and mighty works of 
a new kind of prophet, " a son of peace," who was " anointed 
to preach good tidings unto the meek . . . sent to bind up 
the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 
the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim 
the acceptable year of the Lord ... to comfort all that 
mourn," and who said: "My peace I leave with you, my 
peace I give unto you . . ** Already the countryside looked 
greener, the gardens more fruitful, and there were little springs 
to make glad the land; it was in contrast to the harsh, stem 
world of Judea to which I had become accustomed. Defi 
nitely, I could feel the beginnings of the new order. Coming 
now into the locale of the New Testament, I could begin to 
feel the charm and the picturesqueness of Galilee taking pos 
session of me. 

The road ran on through a lovely, gently sloping valley 
stretching like a smooth, green sea. Jezreel was to the east 
and right of me, Megiddo to the west and left of me. Almost 
immediately upon passing little Jenin there rise simultane- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 213 

ously views ahead of Mount Gilboa and to the west that long 
wooded range of Garmel. 

I had persuaded a doctor and his wife whom I had met 
first en route to Egypt and later again in Jerusalem, and who 
had no plans for the Holy Land, to go to Galilee with me for 
a few days. There was room enough for us all, including 
Mark the chauffeur and Sabri the guide, in the touring car 
I had hired. 

Where this day flocks were grazing on the goodly pasture- 
land, Sabri ordered Mark to stop the car and he began draw 
ing forth lunch boxes. The doctor, his wife, and I alighted 
and sought some stones in a flowery field not too far from the 
motor road. It was a perfect picnic spot. Opening our lunch 
consisting of Syrian loaves split to hold broiled mutton, quar 
ters of ripe tomatoes, and cubes of onions, and gingerly 
sampling a Nablus delicacy concocted from wheat flour, 
goat s milk cheese, honey syrup, and almonds, we attempted 
to satisfy the inner man. After honest efforts to appear satis 
fied with Syrian delicacies, Sabri drew forth another package 
which held ham sandwiches for these fussy Americans and to 
top it all luscious Jaffa oranges. 

Seated on the Plain of Esdraelon, we were enjoying our 
lunch in view of Gilboa s range with once-royal Jezreel 
near-by. Beyond Gilboa rose Little Hermon and nestling 
there at her base was tiny Shunem. It is an unattractive 
mud-hut village surrounded by hedges of prickly pear, yet 
Shunem holds a charm for Bible students from its association 
with the history of Elisha. From its position it was easy to 
imagine the ride of the Shunammite woman across the plain 
glowing under a summer sun which had stricken her son with 
sunstroke in the. harvest field. The path from Garmel to the 
Prophet s home " over Jordan " lies through Shunem. At 
last I understood how natural it would be for this place to be 
a halting-place at night for a pedestrian; and how the little 

214 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

chamber built by a gracious, hospitable hostess and furnished 
by her with a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick 
was a welcome resting-place for this man of God as he passed 
by. And farther north the rounded top of Mount Tabor 
peeked from behind the shoulder of Little Hermon. Beyond, 
bare of trees, steep and uninviting rose the Mount of Precipi 
tation, so-called because of the tradition that it was to the 
edge of this cliff that his infuriated townsmen brought Jesus 
to cast him down. Toward the west and to the left we saw 
the whole width of the great plain, Nazareth with its white 
towers and domes, and then Carmel running its long ridge 
for twelve miles down the south of the Esdraelon Plain to the 
mountains of Samaria. Cities may be laid in ruins but moun 
tains stand fast forever. I had never appreciated the truth 
in that statement until this day when at a mere glance at 
mountains rising from this plain nothing to call a " city " 
anywhere in sight at a mere sweep of mountains, I could 
hastily review more than fifteen hundred years of Israel s 

The Plain of Esdraelon cuts in two Palestine s central ridge 
of mountains, the backbone of the country. Always it has 
been a sort of land bridge over which the invading armies had 
to march in endless wars between the Euphrates and the Nile. 
Throughout history it has been renowned for the many bat 
tles fought upon its soil; it has become a classic battleground. 
It has been rendered so by virtue of its five entrances upon 
an arena peculiarly fitted for fighting. These entrances led to 
the empires either of the Euphrates or Nile valleys, to the 
continents of Asia or Africa. The Pharaohs of Egypt, the 
Hittites, Israelites, Philistines, Assyrians, Syrians, Romans, 
Crusaders, Saracens, Turks, and finally in our day the British 
have fought their battles here. That portion of the battle 
field of Syria which is called the Plain of Megiddo has been 
adopted as the setting for the allegorical and final battle of 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 215 

mankind, waged between the powers of good and evil, as the 
Armageddon of the Book of Revelation. But it has also been 
the land bridge for those who did the business of the world 
because numberless caravans from Tyre and Sidon to Ca 
pernaum, from Gilead to Joppa, from Egypt to Assyria, from 
Jerusalem to Damascus passed across Esdraelon. 

Famed as battleground, famed as bridge between two con 
tinents, it is famous, too, as the richest valley of all Palestine. 
The fertile plain is watered by the River Kishon which win 
ter floods turn into a torrent, and which overflows all the sur 
rounding country. The Vale of Jezreel as the eastern end of 
the plain is called has been cultivated since the time of 
Abraham and quite possibly, scholars now tell us, long before 
his migration into Canaan in 2000 B. c. In subsequent visits, 
I have been struck by the large tracts of fertile plain which 
have been bought up by Jewish colonists. The landscape is 
not dotted with a farmhouse here or a farmhouse there but 
with groups of dwellings where Jewish farmers live mostly a 
communal life. The Bedouin tents which for centuries have 
been scattered across it are now crowded together in an 
ever-decreasing number under the shadow of Carmel. Across 
Esdraelon by motor car to Haifa I have been struck by this 
land, touched by a new era, coming to birth, as Jewish colo 
nists are working fervently to establish themselves in what 
they are pleased to call " the homeland." 

It was while sitting here that I felt vividly again the pres 
ence of the prophet Elijah. On the skyline was the hill that 
held Naboth s vineyard, coveted by greedy Ahab. And that 
ridge of Carmel was a reminder of the contest of fire and 
water between the priests of Baal and the Prophet from 
Gilead, which resulted in the vindication of Jehovah s omnip 

From Gilboa and this plain, Gideon drove the invading 
Midianites toward Jordan. To Gilboa Saul led his army. 

2i6 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Then disguised, he left his army and hurried at midnight to 
the hills farther north, near Little Hermon, to consult the 
witch of Endor only to return before daybreak more heavy in 
heart, more thoroughly frightened, and more weary of body 
than before. The next day he saw his armies scattered and 
his three sons killed. Realizing the future held nothing for 
him but torture at the hands of the Philistines, Saul died by 
his own hand there on the heights. Gazing at the rugged 
ridges, I heard myself repeating David s lament over the 
death of Saul and his beloved friend Jonathan. 


"Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let 
there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the 
shield of the mighty is vilely cast away." II SAMUEL 1:21. 

Mount Tabor was a commanding sight as it rises isolated 
from the lower Galilean hills, striking in appearance because 
of its domelike form and its thickly wooded slopes. Its sum 
mit forms a plateau and it was there Deborah and Barak 
rallied their forces before they dashed down the precipitous 
sides to overwhelm the forces of Sisera gathered on the plain. 
The Crusaders fought here and they left a church of which 
today only the ruins remain. Saladin captured Tabor. In 
its shadow Napoleon drew up his invading French army 
against the Turks. There is an excellent motor road to the 
summit, a steep, serpentine road nineteen hairpin curves 
which leads to a beautiful new Franciscan church. It is the 
view from here which makes a visit to Tabor memorable 
the whole range of Palestine, from Judea to Hermon, and 
from Gilead to the Mediterranean. 


Past the steep ridge of the Mount of Precipitation we came 
into the noisy world of Nazareth, hemmed in by hills on 
all sides, " enclosed by mountains like a flower is by leaves/ 9 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 217 

with little moist green valleys running into it on both sides 
and in front of the town which is spread loosely over a con 
siderable area. I should call Nazareth a pretty town, remem 
bering it as I saw it that first time. It lay serenely in the sun, 
clinging halfway up the hill-slopes as if it had not the courage 
to complete the climb. It was a glistening town of white 
walls, red roofs, iron balconies, towers and crosses, and gar 
dens, encircled by fertile hills green with fresh grass em 
broidered with opening spring blossoms. 

The holy places of Nazareth are as diverse and numerous 
as the sects represented here. There is the Church of the 
Annunciation over the alleged site of Mary s house, and the 
Church of St. Joseph, built over the supposed site of the 
house of the Holy Family. But these are all uncertain me 
morials and as usual in the Holy Land are inclosed in chapels 
lit by lamps and encircled by ceremonial. These shut-in 
shrines at Nazareth have been less significant for me than 
what I found in the open, among the streets, and on the sur 
rounding hillsides. 

I wanted to see three things: the village well, now called 
Virgin s Fountain, the hilltop behind the town to which 
Jesus must have come often, and a carpenter shop. 

The fountain is still here and there is little doubt that from 
time immemorial the women of Nazareth have come to it be 
cause it is the only well in the town. From sunrise until long 
after sunset the maidens and mothers of this Christian Gali 
lean town still come with great slim-necked earthen pitchers 
or more frequently today with emptied gasoline tins poised 
upon their shapely heads to fetch water. Even so must the 
mother of Jesus have come daily to this fountain in the 
brightness of dawn or the shadows of twilight, perhaps many 
a time with a little fellow trudging behind her, or clasping her 
hand or the fold of her bright-colored garment, or when the 
boy was very young carrying him on her shoulder with his 

2i8 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

sturdy little legs wound around her neck as the women carry 
their children today. Here at the village rendezvous while 
she waited to draw water, Mary heard the village gossip as 
many women before and since her day in Nazareth. 

No spot is more sacred to the Christian heart than the hill 
behind Nazareth. For nearly thirty years Jesus lived within 
sight of it. He must have come here often as a boy to lie in 
the tall grasses, to fill his hands with lovely wild flowers, 
crimson anemones and purple cyclamen, scarlet pimpernel, 
golden daisies, such as were all about this April dawn when I 
climbed the hill. It was so easy after that to understand 
Jesus 3 love for the flowers, the grass, and the birds because it 
must have been here that it came home to him first that God 
cared for all of them. He must have come often as a youth 
at the end of a long day s work in a carpenter shop to rest 
while enjoying the coolness of the evening breeze, and to 
" find the blessing of wide and tranquil thought " while look 
ing upon the far-flung landscape which evoked and kept alive 
memories of his people s experience with God. 

And what a view ! It is one we can be sure has not altered 
greatly since Jesus walked this hill. Anyone with the time 
and inclination to walk here will look for long hours with 
quickening thoughts of one who spent his childhood and 
youth here. Cypress trees stood like pointed pencils against 
Christian hospitals and orphanages; round olive trees re 
minded me that always oil has been the wealth of Palestine; 
and everywhere were hedges of cactus brilliant with red and 
yellow blossoms. Northward I saw the snowy mantle of 
Hermon from which " the dew . . . cometh down upon the 
mountains of Zion." Following eastward the view took in 
Sepphoris, now a ruin, but plainly discernible, deserving as 
well as any town in Palestine to be called " a city set on a 
hill," and the long bulwarks of the mountains of Gilead, and 
the Jordan Valley. A cluster of low mountains, huddled to- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 219 

gether like frightened sheep between Jordan and the plain,- 
were : Tabor, Little Hermon with tiny Nain a speck of white 
at its base, and Gilboa. The whole sweep of Esdraelon lay 
beneath my eyes. Carmers range was in plain view across 
the plain and my eyes travelled southward over it far down 
among the brown hills of Samaria, dim in the haze that began 
to gather shortly after sun-up. Westward Carmel throws its 
green promontory out into the Mediterranean and over it I 
saw the sheen of the blue sea and northward again the curved 
tawny beach at Acre, I had never in all my travels seen any 
thing as breath-takingly beautiful. My eyes swept the pano 
rama of beauty so rich in historical suggestions and I thought 
never again would I find its parallel. I was startled from my 
reveries as I saw a caravan emerge from across the plain. 
Glancing about I seemed to see among all this natural beauty 
of the Master s world, as if for the first time, white roads 
stretching endlessly in all directions. As of old their message 

"... One and all, or high or low, 
Will lead you where you wish to go; 
And one and all go night and day 
Over the hills and far away! " 

It was a familiar sight to Jesus from his hillcrest at Pal 
estine s crossroad, Nazareth, to see merchants and pilgrims in 
their caravans moving back and forth across the plain; they 
emerged northward from the mountains of Samaria or headed 
southward toward Jerusalem; they swung over the pass at 
Megiddo from the Plain of Sharon, or crept up from the 
Jordan Valley; and they came down over the hills from Da 
mascus. Jesus must have watched with eager eyes from here 
the caravans weaving in and out and dreamt of the lands they 
came from and the goals they sought. It was easy now to 
understand Jesus inspiration for many of the parables. The 

22O Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" open road " figures in much of his teaching. Someone is 
always going somewhere. The prodigal son goes to a far 
country; a traveller falls among thieves; friends on a journey 
arrive unexpectedly and require hospitality; a nobleman 
journeys widely and returns home again. 

Slowly I began to retrace my steps to the Austrian Hospice 
for breakfast. My glance kept singling out the road over the 
hills from Nazareth to the lake, the one Jesus used to follow 
to go to Capernaum, which is lost finally from view as it is 
swallowed by hills. In a few hours our car would be swing 
ing out of Nazareth bound for " his own city," over the same 
highway. Deeply stirred this morning of which I am telling 
you by a new consciousness of companioning with Jesus, I 
found myself repeating: 

<c Up the road to Galilee, Master, 
It is good to be 
Walking as of old with Thee." 

Nazareth has a " Main Street," which is broad in that por 
tion which lies in the valley, but it narrows as it reaches the 
hills where it divides into several streets. These climb in 
different directions to more distant heights. Bordering the 
main street are the many small shops without doors or win 
dows where native artisans ply their primitive trades. A cop 
persmith sat near-by his door beating out rough copper plates 
and pans; shoemakers and cobblers were busy with sandals; 
others sharpening knives, sickles, and plowshares. In some 
men were making crude knives, long bladed shears, brass 
camel and sheep bells. Men loitered in these streets of Naz 
areth as they do throughout the Near East in rickety wooden 
booths that serve as coffee houses, drinking coffee and smoking 
" hubble-bubble " pipes which they rent from the proprietors. 
Modern Nazarenes are dressed much as Jesus must have been 


Photographed by Harriet-Louise 


Nazareth has a "Main Street" with many small shops 
without doors and windows where native artisans ply their 
primitive trades. A coppersmith sits near-by his door beating 
out rough copper plates and pans. Modern Nazarenes wear 
the "kumyeh" (turban), easy garments, sandals of leather, 
and occasionally an Occidental coat is added to the costume. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 221 

with a turban covering the long hair, wearing a beard, flowing 
easy garments, and sandals of leather or wood on the feet. If 
an Occidental coat has been adopted, quite often it is seen 
thrown across the shoulders and the sleeves dangle empty. 

I wanted very much to see a carpenter shop but I hesi 
tated asking lest there be no workshop in Nazareth like the 
carpenter Joseph s where he taught Jesus an honest trade. It 
was on a side street of the bazaar that I found a shop where 
a carpenter was making plows which have not changed their 
shape in ages. It was easy for any passer-by to pause and 
watch this workman at his task in a small room more like a 
dark, rectangular cave. The simple tools used by this pres 
ent-day carpenter are quite the same as those used by Joseph 
and the boy Jesus when he learned and plied the carpenter s 
trade: a hammer, a chisel, a saw, and a plane. He worked 
seated some of the time, holding the wood down with his 
bared feet when he used the band saw. Much of the work is 
the manufacture of implements for use in tilling the soil as it 
was in Jesus day: handles for hoes, crude plows, and yokes 
for oxen. The methods of making plows and yokes remain as 
in the first century. In Arab-owned fields the one-handled 
plow is seen scratching a thin line through the rocky soil in 
contrast to the modern tractors drawing a dozen plowshares 
used by farmers in prosperous Zionist colonies near-by. 
Watching the fellah with the goad in one hand and one 
hand on the plow, it was easy for me to understand why 
Jesus used the singular when he said, " having put his hand 
to the plow. 3 

Our days in Nazareth were ended. It was time to leave our 
haven of peace, this pleasant hospice which had given us the 
moment of silence needed by every visitor to Palestine. Out 
from a flower-lined driveway of scarlet tulips, purple gladioli, 
blue iris, orange crowfoot, past orchards of olive trees, hedges 
of cactus, fields of barley and wheat, we sped. The wheels 

222 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

of the motor car repeated the words: Up the road to Galilee. 
Up the road to Galilee. 


When Jesus left Nazareth, the home of his youth, to begin 
his public ministry, he chose to center it largely around an 
inland lake, which names this whole region Galilee. He was 
drawn time and again as if by some irresistible impulse and 
attraction to the blue lake, from the first time that he saw it 
as he came over the hills from Nazareth until he appeared to 
those nearest and dearest to him following the resurrection. 
Galilee held the happiest, the most precious hours of his life. 
One has only to read the Gospels to realize how large a place 
in his heart this region claimed. From its shores as they 
mended their nets, Jesus called his first disciples. From a 
near-by hill he gave to mankind the Magna Charta of the 
Kingdom of Heaven in the Sermon on the Mount. By its 
shores he performed many miracles of healing and spoke his 
parables. Jesus spent his time along its open roads, out under 
its blue sky, amid the sights and sounds of these Galilean high 
lands, drawing from the common life about him for the illus 
trations and images of his teaching. The Teacher made his 
home its principal city, Capernaum, and from there radiated 
his evangelistic journeys. He spent many a day here while 
people followed him pointing to a reaper gathering the grain 
and angered by the tares, or to a sower in a near-by field sow 
ing broadcast the seed, or to a net that fishermen were throw 
ing into the waters. At night, wearied by the crowds that 
thronged him, he retired to the seclusion of its near-by hills 
for meditation and prayer which was so vital in the great ex 
periences of his life. Some of the landmarks have long since 
vanished, but the hills, lights, sun, moon, stars, wind, rain, and 
eager hearts are the same here year after year. These are the 
things that Jesus looked upon and loved in Galilee. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 223 


Jesus approached the Sea of Galilee by way of the "Via 
Maris." The road wound its way through fertile green val 
leys, gently sloping hills, and tumbled rocks into Cana, just as 
it does today. It was here that the first miracle of his min 
istry occurred the turning of the water into wine at the mar 
riage feast to which he, his mother, brothers, and sisters were 
invited. Pilgrims stop at Cana now to taste the water flowing 
from a spring where tradition says the water was drawn to be 
turned into wine nineteen hundred years ago. 

Christians come to Cana to be reminded of Jesus and his 
mighty works and they go away annoyed by the dirty, almost 
naked, sore-eyed, scabby-handed beggars who attack tourists, 
offering them postcards and souvenirs beads, earthen jars, 
and bits of lace. The little village is completely spoiled 
for many Christians by these howling wretches screaming, 
" Baksheesh " and pulling at one s clothing. And yet, it was 
mobs like this that pestered and crowded Jesus; these were 
the ones he wanted to preach to. These were the ones he 
fed. It was their blindness and lameness that he took away; 
their leprous sores he healed; their anxiety about the morrow 
and its need he relieved. Wretched people like these living at 
Cana today had been his care. I have met people who felt 
contaminated by the mob at Cana and who were relieved 
when their motor cars left the little town far behind. I have 
felt that in their religious experience they have left behind 
them these words of Jesus; perhaps they have never heard 
them in their hearts as Jesus meant them to be heard by his 

" When I was hungry, you gave me food, when I was thirsty 
you gave me something to drink, when I was a stranger, you in 
vited me to your homes, when I had no clothes, you gave me 
clothes, when I was sick, you looked after me, when I was in 

224 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

prison, you came to see me. I tell you, in so far as you did it to 
one of the humblest of these brothers of mine, you did it to 
me." MATTHEW 25: 35, 36, 40 (The New Testament, An 
American Translation, Goodspeed) . 

From Cana the road bent, and it bends now, around and 
past the village where a miracle occurred. Then it plunged 
and it plunges now into the hills which were once the volcanic 
zone of the Jordan Valley. A grand panorama unfolded, just 
as it does now to the traveller in Galilee, as the road across the 
Plain of Hattin is followed. 

On the left of the roadway is an elongated hill, whose shape 
resembles a saddle; the rising at each end suggests horns; 
hence they give it its name Horns of Hattin. It is more fa 
miliarly known as the Mountain of the Beatitudes. 

On that far-off day in spring when Jesus chose to go up on 
one of these summits and from there speak to an assembled 
multitude, the sides of the slopes lay under a blanket of wild 
flowers. They covered the slopes this April day growing in 
all their beauty and riot of color as when Jesus saw and loved 
them. There were purple cyclamen, pheasant s eye, blue iris, 
pink flax, red anemones, and countless other yellow, blue, 
and pale blue flowers whose names I did not know. Jesus was 
conscious of his surroundings, sensitive to the lessons which 
they might teach simple folk who followed him from " Gali 
lee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond Jordan." In the 
Sermon on the Mount, he drew from the " lilies of the field," 
which in spring are nowhere lovelier than in Galilee, the les 
son of God s beneficence. 


About eight minutes in a motor car from the Horns of Hat- 
tin comes the first glimpse of the sea. " One . . . two . . . 
three . . . seven, eight," counted Sabri slowly and all at 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 225 

once there lying before me was the Lake of Galilee, as blue 
and beautiful as my dreams. The country through which we 
had been travelling lately was a spring symphony of green and 
gold checkerboard, rich in fertility, with fields of grain, grass, 
thyme, and flower-carpeted fields stretching out over these 
two broad moors. The brown limestone land whose rocks 
give the aspect of bands of gold fell to a line of cliffs overlook 
ing the sweet, cool, blue lake. A rocky gorge, broken by 
dykes of basalt, strewn with lava and pumice stone separated 
the moors and it held our road from over the hills of Galilee 
to the sea. The whole was a luscious mosaic of green fields, 
brown earth, golden rocks, blue water magically reflecting 
the heavens, with the white head of Hermon shining in the 

Jesus that first time saw a strip of bright blue, as blue as 
any Mediterranean sky, perhaps a fleet of sails where now I 
saw only one or two faintly ruffling the surface of the placid 
water. He saw a woods filled with walnut, olive, sycamore, 
and sumac trees where now there were no trees; veritable 
bowers of flowers and gardens where this day there were only 
marshes except for one or two places along the western shore, 
at Tabgha, at Tell Hum, and along the Plain of Gennesaret. 
Jesus sighted that first time nine or ten prosperous, populous 
cities and towns of consequence. We saw but one of these, 
Tiberias, within whose limits there is no record Jesus ever tar 
ried and very little likelihood that he ever walked. Beautiful 
and exquisite as the first glimpse of this little, pear-shaped 
body of water must have been in his day, I felt it was still so 
in spite of apparent barrenness and the lack of the physical 
presence of the " Stranger of Galilee," as I looked long at it. 
It is quite impossible to see it and not feel in spirit the pres 
ence of this man who brought peace to its shores. Peace, his 
peace, still dwells by its dreamy shores and quiet waters. I 
began to think of Jesus then 

226 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

" Not as crucified and slain, 
Not in agonies of pain, 
Not with bleeding hands or feet, 
But as in the village street, 
In the house or harvest field, 
When He walked in Galilee." 


From this point where the lake is seen first, the road 
doubles back and forth down through the hills, steadily down 
ward, through some sterile, bare country, through heat until 
at the very end it emerges upon palms, greenness, and cool, 
blue sea. 

Mountains rise all about the Sea of Galilee. On the west 
ern shore in April, May, and June they are green mountains; 
on the eastern shore they are dreary,, brown precipices of the 
desert; on the north there is that magnificent ridge of Hermon 
covered always with snow even in the extreme heat of mid 
summer. A little inland lake, only twelve or fourteen miles 
long and seven across at the broadest point, set in a sub-tropi 
cal climate since it lies seven hundred feet below sea level, and 
yet her mountains rear their heads in a temperate climate 
where even snow is not unknown. 

Parts of its shore are covered with white sea shells and these 
contrive in the brilliant Syrian sun to give it a sparkling look. 
There seems to be no sand to speak of and only a few places 
where large basalt rocks are to be found. One can reach 
down and gather easily handful after handful of exquisite, 
tiny, pointed shells. Arab children run along the motor road 
from Tiberias to Tell Hum offering to tourists for a piastre 
(five cents) strands of almost perfectly matched shells which 
they have gathered from Galilee s shore. Some strands are 
white, others have been dyed purple, yellow, pink, and green. 

There are two delightful places to stay overnight when one 
is at Galilee. One is the lovely hostel at Ain Tabgha, near 

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Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 227 
the site of the ancient Bethsaida, on the very shore of Galilee. 
Here jolly Father Tapper, who was in charge of the hostel 
and the missionary work among the Arabs, used to wel 
come guests. The other is the Italian Hospice run by the 
Franciscan nuns on the Mountain of the Beatitudes, overlook 
ing the beauty and peace of Galilee and Capernaum, They 
are of all the lovely places in the world in which to rest, medi 
tate, and feel again the joy of living, the two most charming 
and to me the most romantic. 

Off the beaten track of tourists, Tabgha is a place of 
transcendent beauty. It is set within a grove of banana, 
pomegranate, orange, and fig trees. Its seaside path, musical 
with the cool sound of running water, is sheltered by huge 
eucalyptus trees which form a woods following along the lake 
side. Its gardens overflow with palm trees, flowering ge 
raniums, and purple bougainvillea which flings itself over the 
red-roofed white buildings. Turtles sleep by the edge of 
pools, little snakes writhe through the silvery water, unmo 
lested birds trill their songs of joy. While revelling in the 
glory of this sanctuary, it is possible to dream of the luxuriant 
beauty of the western shore as Jesus knew it. In the hospice s 
garden Father Tapper s soft voice broke the idyllic spell only 
momentarily as he offered a refreshing cup of steaming tea. 

Tabgha means " seven springs." Warm springs of water 
run into the lake and the fish come here and lie in the warm 
water. This is the only place around the shores of Galilee 
where men wade in to fish. They may still be seen in the 
early morning throwing the hand-net, which is like a para 
chute with tiny weights around the circumference. As they 
throw, the net opens out, then, as it sinks, the weights fall to 
gether at the bottom and enclose the fish in the area covered 
by the net. It may have been here that Jesus, standing above 
the water on the lakeside, saw from the shore a sudden shoal 
of fish and instructed his disciples " to cast your net on the 

228 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

right side of the boat and ye shall find." From his vantage 
point a sudden shoal of fish was visible to him while not visible 
to the fishermen. This account is all the more impressive to 
one who has visited Galilee. 

I ate fish one noon at lunch. When I inquired what kind it 
was, I was answered, " It is St. Peter s fish." Further -ques 
tions brought forth the information that this was the fish to 
which Jesus referred when, in controversy about the Temple 
tax, he said: 

c< Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish 
that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, 
thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them 
for me and thee." MATTHEW 17: 27. 

The musht is a curious large-mouthed variety of fish, pecu 
liar to Galilee. 

Anyone visiting Galilee can watch Arab fishermen catching 
musht in the same manner that Peter, Andrew, and John 
caught it for the Master with a drag-net. Having caught 
the fish, they find a protected spot along the lake, make a fire 
of coals, cook it, and serve it on a loaf. To have this experi 
ence is for any Christian to be reminded of a joyful morning 
meal partaken of by Jesus and his disciples by the shores of 
the Galilean Sea immediately following the resurrection. 

Late one afternoon during another visit to Galilee some 
friends and I took a fishing boat from Tabgha to spend an 
hour on the sea. As we left the sliore the sea was calm, more 
like a piece of exquisite blue glass. With the shore receding 
and to the accompaniment of the creaking oars and the light 
splash of water, I read aloud to my companions gospel stories 
of Jesus and his mighty works done hereabouts while a native 
son pointed out historic locations of these events which were 
within our line of vision. In the bosom of the lake, it sud 
denly became tumultuous. Our guide broke into the reverie 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 229 

of the quiet hour by suggesting that we must return to the 
shore lest these choppy waves bring us disaster. 

Storms on Galilee are not unknown. Coming without a 
word of warning, they are terrifying occurrences for the na 
tives, many of whom have perished in its waters. The winds 
from the north sweep the inland body of water, stirring it to 
its very depths; the waves may break as high as thirty feet. 
But as suddenly as these storms arise as suddenly do they 
subside, leaving sometimes in their wake an appalling toll of 
human life. 

As our boat, a heavy, clumsy affair, similar to the type used 
by the disciples in the first century, turned in the now turbu 
lent sea, we heard a distant shout. Looking in the direction 
from whence it had come, we saw two heads bobbing above 
the water s surface. Putting back out to see what was wanted 
and drawing near to them, one of two Jewish boys shouted 
that they were exhausted from their unsuccessful struggles to 
regain shore because of the undertow. Would we take them 
to safety, lest they perish, they beseechingly inquired. The 
request had a strangely reminiscent note of an earlier occa 
sion when the disciples sought Jesus on this storm-tossed lake 
and said, " Master, carest thou not that we perish? " 

" Gladly," we replied, shifting our positions to accommo 
date our fellow men. 

"La" (No), shouted the Arab boatman. "They are 
JEWS ! " And he ordered the boat to shore. We had not 
reckoned with Arab- Jewish animosity. 

As we turned about, I saw one boy s head disappear in the 
shifting, lifting water. His face was void of hope and color as 
it sank out of sight. 

Expostulations, relayed through the guide, acting as in 
terpreter between American and Arab, availed nothing. 
Heedlessly, this man superintended the return to shore. 

In this moment of extremity, anxious for our fellow men 

230 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

who were being left behind, I said to my companions, " Let 
us pray." 

There was a moment of quiet and calm among us Chris 
tians, who sat huddled in a heaving boat in an atmosphere of 
mingled physical fear, race and religious hatred. We felt the 
sudden lurch as the boatman checked his course in the angry 
waves and we finally came alongside the boys, one holding the 
other up. Without a word they were helped into our tossing, 
heavy boat by the Arabs. One youth was placed upon the 
floor utterly spent from his efforts in the treacherous sea. 
Somehow it seemed as if this moment was the " silence of eter 
nity, interpreted by love. 35 

I picked up the Bible, turned to the Gospel of Mark, Chap 
ter 4, verses 35-41, and read aloud the record of the stilling of 
another tempest, physical, mental, and moral, in the first cen 
tury when in a correct understanding of the situation in 
volved, the Master is reported to have said, " Peace, be still." 
By his own calm and command, by his own assurance that 
" all is well with thee," and by speaking aloud to the troubled, 
anxious hearts, the disciples 3 fear was calmed and the sea be 
came peaceful. Absorbed as we all became in Mark s ac 
count of the incident, the re-reading of the gospel story did 
the same for all of us. 

Upon regaining the bathing-place at Tabgha, the angry 
sea had become as calm again as a piece of dark blue glass. 
On the lake all was peace. The sun had disappeared be 
hind dark purple hills. Night s silences stole round us, 
fraught with memories of Christ " walking upon the water." 

" Shallom" (Peace), bid the Jews as they scrambled from 
the boat. They waded in to shore. We heard their feet 
crunch over the beach and they disappeared into misty 

" Assallam " (Peace), answered the Moslem Arabs with no 
seeming hesitancy. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 231 

" Good-bye/ echoed four Christian women. 

In the space of an evening hour, we had witnessed a tem 
pest which was physical, racial,, and religious on Galilee. 
Fear, hatred, and intolerance had been dispelled by the 
miracle of prayer. I have wondered since: is it any less a 
miracle because Christ appears or is manifested in ordinary 
events and processes more than once? I remember Christ 
Jesus said, " I go away, and come again to you. 33 Somehow 
this experience has not detracted from Jesus mighty works 
nor belittled his power, but it has been a sign of Immanuel, 
that is, " God with us/ ever-present and repeating itself in 
every generation. 

And let me add as a sort of postscript that during the re 
mainder of my stay in the Holy Land that year I never again 
had any occasion to observe instances of racial or religious 
animosity among its peoples. I travelled freely through the 
country, I crossed " over Jordan," I visited the black " tents 
of Kedar," I went to the Wailing Wall; it became for me that 
year a truly Holy Land. 


From one of the high, covered balconies at the Italian 
Hospice on the Mountain of the Beatitudes I have watched 
sun-up on Galilee. Stealing out from my little white bedroom 
onto the veranda, I have waited for that moment when the 
first faint shafts of light quiver behind the barren precipices 
of Gadara s eastern hills, when the sky suddenly becomes a 
cloth of many colors, when pinkish lights burst into a flame of 
golden glory, and when the sea which has been lying cool and 
grey in the morning light swiftly turns blue and warm. 

But if sun-up is an experience of delight, then indeed how 
full of mystery is the night on Galilee its sky, its stars, its 
moon, its foliage, its placid sea, as though planned to lull tired 
bodies and wearied hearts to peaceful sleep. The day has its 

232 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

turmoil and strife but night on Galilee has its ebb of silence 
and rest. 

The shadowy, sheltered Italian Hospice was quite still. 
There was no sound anywhere. Even the thin, cool leaves of 
the eucalyptus trees were not stirring and the birds were si 
lent. The sunlight that filtered between the tree-trunks drew 
a curving pattern of light on the flower beds. Where Galilee 
wound its zigzag course, the ripples were touched to sparkling 
jewels, but the music of the trickling water was swallowed up 
in the vast tranquillity, the heat, and the distance. Far down 
below red-roofed Capernaum drowsed among her eucalyptus 

Along the road came the evening procession. It moved 
against a dreamlike background of the Trans- Jordania moun 
tains, slashed with great gorges now filling with purpling 
shadows as the sun sank farther behind the western hills, 
against a tawny sky, and a lake turning from rose to ame 
thyst, then smoky blue, then grey. Their work in ripe wheat 
fields ended, these fellaheen strode back now to lighted camp- 
fires in an open field where the tents of a Bedouin tribe had 
squatted. The children scuffed along among their elders. A 
file of camels moved slowly, laden with swaying tools. A 
small fellah, lazily leading his flock of sheep, went along 
playing a little tune on a reed pipe. One of the German friars 
at Capernaum came up across the cleared fields. He was on 
his way to conduct vespers for the nuns who live at the 

A slight breeze sprang up. The night was dropping darkly 
over the mountains of Gilead. The breeze was sweeping up 
in strong, cool gusts. The road lay deserted. The sunlight 
became tarnished, then vanished altogether. The garden be 
came a murky chasm as the pale light from the half-open 
shutters came out in luminous bands. 

Waiting in the garden, I saw night settle down swiftly, as 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 233 

it does in all warm places, smothering the sunset and the brief 
dusk into warm tropical blackness, coming quietly and peace 
fully. Stars pricked out, one by one; lights came on down at 
Capernaum and in the distant city of Tiberias; pinpricks 
of brightness in the enveloping darkness* Human voices 
harsh, hoarse, and guttural rose and fell. Somewhere a 
radio broke out into an Arabic love song, drowning the silken 
swish of palm fronds and the whispers of tall trees. The 
clang of ambling camel and sheep bells grew more distant and 

The darkness of trees which stretched their branches over 
the fragrant garden seemed to dwarf everything but the white 
building that rose behind them. As the evening wore on the 
mountains across the lake seemed to. be beginning another 
day. There was a faint sheen and then a huge tawny moon 
lifted herself above the eastern mountains. Rising higher and 
higher she turned a pure gold and sent a golden pathway 
across Galilee. It seemed like, a rich fine carpet for royal tread. 
Here and there she found a chink in the foliage and laid a 
>coin of light on the ground. On the lake was peace. The 
zing of insects whirred in the air. The birds grew restless and 
began to rustle in the shaggy bushes. in which they had 
sought shelter for this night. Suddenly frightened they swept 
like phantoms across the garden; eerie cries drifted back on 
the breeze. Night had come again to Galilee. 

I sat here awed and enchanted by the magic of the night. 
I felt so near to the Master that if, in this recurring miracle 
of night on Galilee, he had come from out the moonlight and 
the misty shadows, it would not have seemed surprising nor 
alarming. Looking beyond the moonlit waters to the moun 
tains of Gilead, which in the nighttime looks like a terrifying 
barrier, I began to think upon that wild, lonely, eerie country 
of the Gergesenes and of Jesus visit there one night. 

After a busy day he was seeking rest and solitude. He 

234 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

left the thickly populated western shore of the lake and sailed 
toward a gorge which is due east of Tiberias. On their way a 
storm arose which greatly alarmed the disciples, causing them 
to appeal to their Master. Jesus rose from the stern of the 
boat where he had fallen asleep in sheer weariness and said, 
" Peace,, be still." Suddenly both the waters and the disciples 5 
fears were hushed. When they landed, night had fallen. The 
disciples, calmed somewhat after their terrifying experience 
with the tempest on Galilee, followed Jesus up the gorge 
through darkness. They heard a scream, the wild clanking of 
a chain, and saw a man come leaping through the blackness 
to hurl himself at his feet. Jesus met this hideous figure, vir 
tually naked, dirty, scarred, and bloody from recent gashes, 
with the same calm he had shown scarcely an hour earlier. 
But this time he healed a demoniac. 

Again the end of this story is full of peace. " They . . . 
behold him, that was possessed with devils sitting, clothed and 
in his right mind." 

Jesus crossed the lake to spend the night in peace but he 
spent it instead with a madman named Legion in a place of 
tombs where ghosts were believed to dwell and wild beasts 
to lurk. The Gergesene restored to sanity wanted to join 
Jesus* company. It was but a natural expression of his grati 
tude, but Jesus told him to go home and give his friends the 
story of what God had done. The man went his way, says 
Mark, and went to ten cities, telling them the marvelous 


I walked down from the Italian Hospice across a cleared 
wheat field to the lakeside and spent a morning with Bedouin 
children. We all sat in a bower of oleander bushes whose 
dark green leaves and bright pink blossoms contrasted sharply 
with black basalt rock, wisps of yellow straw, and silvery 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 235 

water lapping near-by our bare feet. One of the boys piped 
on a shepherd s flute while I tapped on some typewriter keys. 

The East met the West. For hours in this bower we 
charmed one another with our smiles. Later I trudged with 
them to their home a black goat-hair tent pitched between 
the wheat fields ripe for harvest ia May and a patch of cu 
cumber vines. To judge from the size of the pan of cucum 
bers within the tent it had been the field of vines punctuated 
with yellow blossoms which had been the deciding factor in 
the selection of this home-site. As Abraham welcomed his 
guests at the tent-door in 2000 B. c. so did the humble Gali 
lean father welcome me as he said, "Assallam aleitkum" 
(Peace be with thee), and then he passed the common cup of 
bitter coffee. 

These are simple people who live on Galilee today. One 
of the thrills of late afternoon was to turn the dial of our 
radio for a program of fine Arabic music and then stop the 
motor of our car on the hillsides of Galilee. As the strains of 
the rugged,, passionate love songs floated through the air, the 
Bedouin would appear from behind rocks, tumble off donkeys, 
speed through the fields to crowd about the car. And the 
wonder of it all ... the desert music, the Arabic songs they 
all love, seeming to come from nowhere. There would be a 
momentary look of incredulity, then a smile would spread 
over the bronzed faces, and finally there would come the mo 
ment when they would all burst into clapping and swaying 
with the strains of the Oriental music. The invention of the 
West, a Philco radio, we saw capture the hearts of the chil 
dren of the East, the children of the desert, the Bedouin. 

At home in America, while re-reading the Gospels, I have 
remembered this and it has struck me that the Galileans must 
have come to Jesus in exactly the same unconventional man 
ner when " the report of him went out everywhere into all the 
region of Galilee round about." And they gathered round 

236 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the Master as incredulous and astonished as these folk, who 
were hearing a radio for the first time, when he first told them 
" the good news/ 3 healed their sick, reformed their sinners, and 
raised their dead. And, " pressing upon him and hearing the 
word of God," they accepted the " glad tidings of great joy " 
with the same smiling, bronzed faces and eager hearts as these 
present-day Galileans who were captivated by the music 
picked up out of the air. 


Staying either at Tabgha or on the Mount of Beatitudes, 
visitors to Galilee are fortunate to be in the vicinity of the 
chief events of Jesus ministry. I was impressed here, as I 
had not been at home by my study of maps and reading of 
the Gospels, by the close proximity of these towns and villages 
where he tarried and by how often from either the lakeside 
or from some elevation he could survey the scenes of his 

It is only twenty miles from Nazareth to Capernaum. I 
have taken a boat at Tabgha and been at Capernaum s de 
serted landing-place in less than an hour. I have motored 
along the shore from Tabgha, passed the new little Church of 
the Loaves and Fishes at Bethsaida, sheltering those rare mo 
saics of an early Christian church commemorating where the 
feeding of five thousand took place, and on to Capernaum in 
less than ten minutes. I have walked down from the Mount 
of Beatitudes across the cleared fields, picking my way among 
the weeds and a lively crop of thistles, thorns, and briers, and 
been at the entrance to the garden at Tell Hum (Caper 
naum) within an hour. The distance between these towns 
Jesus knew is almost negligible. 

It was along the shores of Galilee that Jesus carried on the 
larger part of his healing ministry, but it was at Capernaum 
that he performed his mightiest works. In a real sense he 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 237 

made it " his own city." There is no place in all Palestine 
more closely associated with Jesus than Capernaum. 

Here he healed the centurion s servant, the nobleman s son, 
the paralytic boy who was let down through the roof, Peter s 
wife s mother, and the man with the withered hand. An 
other time he healed a dumb demoniac, two blind men; 
again, a woman with a hemorrhage. Finally, he raised 
Jairus 3 daughter from the dead. Here Jesus was the happiest 
of his whole life because here he was loved, appreciated, and 
thronged as he never had been in Nazareth where he had to 
face the hostility of people with whom he had grown up. 

Once it was a busy thriving town of fifteen thousand inhab 
itants. Tourists from Mesopotamia and Egypt, Bedouin from 
the desert, Jews from all the world, the Roman garrison, the 
fish markets, the lively and constant traffic between cities on 
different sides of the lake, and the synagogue made it the 
focus of life and energy along the Sea of Galilee. It was an 
opulent, cosmopolitan, noisy city with all the social problems 
of a city wealth over poverty, prostitution, distinctions be 
tween social classes, arrogant luxury. Capernaum now has 
vanished, all except the ruins of the synagogue. Desolate and 
deserted, one cannot but remember Jesus words, " And thou, 
Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted to heaven? Thou shalt be 
cast down to hell." 

Today the main object of interest at the identified site of 
ancient Capernaum is the ruins of an old synagogue ; possibly 
the one, scholars tell us, in which Jesus was accustomed to 
teach and preach and where he healed the man with the 
withered hand. The Franciscan Fathers are gradually recov 
ering the stones from out the earth where they were buried by 
an earthquake and reverently restoring them to place. The 
edifice must have been imposing in its day, judging from the 
splendor of the white carved stones and the sculpture. Carved 
on. much of the stonework are not only the familiar Jewish 

238 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

emblems like the vine and the six-pointed star of David made 
of two intersecting triangles, and the five-pointed star of 
Solomon, the olives, and the seven-branched candlestick, but 
also pagan and Roman carving, emblems like the eagle. 
Today, visitors see four columns upholding a broken archi 
trave, a paved court in which some grass grows, a doorway, 
and stone steps leading up to it, and the usual chaos of broken 
and fallen stones. * 

In the Gospel of Luke we are told that a synagogue at 
Capernaum was built and presented to the city by the Roman 
centurion whose servant Jesus healed. The elders recom 
mended Jesus mercy by saying of their benefactor, " He lov- 
eth our nation and hath built us a synagogue. 3 * Some believe, 
however, that this building dates from the second or third 

When I have been here in April and May I have entered 
the ruins through a beautiful and lovely garden of petunias. 
The Franciscans, who so lovingly tend and guard the remains 
of " his own city," have left the ruins untouched except to 
restore and clean them. There is no garish church to mar the 
simplicity and natural beauty v I have felt so poignantly the 
presence of the Master as I have wandered among the ruins of 
this white temple. It has been easy to believe that these 
stones which formed the chair on which the preacher sat to 
preach are the actual stones on which Jesus sat; to believe 
that the stones in the paved court felt the imprint of his feet; 
to believe that the walls heard the soft, sweet music of his 
voice as he asked those watching whether he would heal on 
the sabbath day that they might accuse him: 

" What man shall there be among you, that shall have one 
sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay 
hold on it, and lift it out? 

"How much then is a man better than a sheep? " : MAT 
THEW 12: ir, 12. 





W 1J 

S *^ a 

8 s 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 239 

Sitting among the fallen stones, I ve known that Jesus when 
he was here looked across blue waters to the same parched 
hills opposite. There are no harsh noises to disturb the 
peace. There is only the sweet melody made by the playing 
of the wind among trees, distant calls that echo here and 
there, the tumble of a sheep bell, the breaking of wave after 
wave against the shore, the flutter of a disturbed bird, and the 
swelling song of a thousand feathered choristers. Its trees in 
spring are green and beautiful. Fragrance fills the air. Lit 
tle green lizards lazily lie in the sun and bask. The sky over 
head is brilliant blue. 

One thinks of Peter, too, in Capernaum. And the other 
thing they show visitors here is the alleged site of his house 
where, Mark tells us, Jesus often stayed. Here Jesus healed 
Peter s wif e s mother. Here the boy was let down through the 
roof. Nothing remains of it today. 

Sitting down on a near-by bench, I have imagined that 
it was built as many Eastern houses are, one story high, prob 
ably four sides round a tiny courtyard, with an outside stair 
way from the roadway to the flat roof. No doubt a tempo 
rary roofing was put across to cover the courtyard and make 
another room. The relatives of the paralytic boy removed 
this temporary roof and let the young man down on a rope 
into the midst of those gathered about Jesus. 

It occurred to me during my first visit that many had pre 
ceded me in enjoying the hospitality of the fisherman s home, 
celebrities like Jesus, James, and John. Somehow I was 
struck by the kindliness of Peter as never before a visit here. 
I recalled how he had his bachelor-brother, Andrew, live with 
them, and opened his home to his mother-in-law, and eagerly 
welcomed the Master and all the people who followed him 
thronging the street and the doorway. I recalled how he 
used to take his wife on his missionary tours. That being the 
case, she was no millstone about the neck of this enthusiastic, 

240 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

impulsive man; she never mocked his zeal or pointed out his 
inconsistencies. Peter entertained frequently and she must 
have encouraged him to bring his friends home any time. 
Peter loved this wife and he loved his mother-in-law. How 
do I know? Because he is the only New Testament writer 
who touches with such adornment the subject of marriage and 
the duties of husband toward wife and vice versa. He makes 
tender and beautiful the position of woman as " the weaker 
vessel" to whom honor is due. As for his mother-in-law, 
when she was sick, Jesus healed her and then she rose up and 
ministered to all of them. 

There are many houses in America that hold like groups: 
a man and his wife, the wife s folks, and the husband s peo 
ple. Many of them are as congenial Christian family groups 
as this Jewish-Christian home was in the first century. Some 
how Peter seemed such a kindly, warm-hearted, affectionate 
family-man when I met him here in Capernaum, when I 
stopped by his house across the street from the synagogue. 

I should like to share with you modern Capernaum s lake 
side as I saw it in the peace of the noonday hour in contrast 
to the hustle and business of the busy quayside in Jesus time. 

The quay is built of black basalt rock. Some of the huge 
stones with marks oft them made by grappling irons and 
chains and anchors of ships are relics of the quayside stones of 
ancient Capernaum* Matthew had his office on the quay 
or possibly along the road that ran along the sea-front. On 
this beach or quayside Matthew heard " Follow me." Be 
ginning in Galilee the invitation has been heard in every land 
and not a day has passed since but that somewhere some 
" pilgrim on earth " has thrilled at the sound of it and has an 
swered, " I follow." 

The foreground is covered with sand and tiny, delicately 
pointed sea shells with here and there patches of green sturdily 
pushing up tender new shoots. There is a mimosa tree and 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 241 

separating the ruins of Capernaum from the quayside are eu 
calyptus trees. In the distance toward the south is a lovely 
hillside thrusting itself up from a small, horseshoe-shaped bay. 
This one forms a perfect amphitheatre where hundreds of 
people could sit on the shore and plainly hear anyone who 
spoke to them from a boat. Many times from a little ship 
floating in this bay or one similar to it, the great Teacher 
taught the multitudes on the shore. Seeing this bay at Ca 
pernaum explained: 

" He began to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered 
unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and 
sat in the sea; and the multitude was by the sea on the land." 

MARK 4:1. 

The yellowish-green cast of the hillside in - April comes from 
green grass blending with millions of yellow flowers which had 
delighted my eyes as I came over the hills from Bethsaida. 
The noonday heat blazing down upon Galilee made the sea 
lose its brilliance and sparkle and a bluish haze seemed to be 
suspended above the water. There wasn t a sail in sight* 
Silence reigned supreme. I sat quietly and waited. Then in 
the brief sabbath of an hour I read aloud Matthew s record 
of the " Parables by the Sea/ Closing the New Testament, I 
thought to myself that Jesus believed his message indestructi 
ble and history as it unfolds is his vindication because what he 
said one day by the seaside to a few is still pondered by the 


Between Capernaum and Magdala is the Plain of Gen- 
nesaret, stretching like a vast green garden for three miles 
along Galilee. Renowned through the ages for its fertility, 
Josephus praised it in none too glowing terms when. he said: 
" Its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can be grown upon 
it, walnuts and palms, fig trees and olives. It not only nour- 

242 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ishes different sorts of fruits of opposite climes but maintains 
a constant supply of them throughout the entire year." Its 
fruits were barred from the Jerusalem markets on feast days 
lest the pilgrims come to the Holy City to enjoy Gennesaret s 
fruits rather than to worship Jehovah. Anyone driving along 
the " Way of the Sea " knows immediately when he has 
reached this paradise of Galilee because the grass is greener, 
the flowers more abundant, the foliage heavier, the palms and 
other trees more luxuriant. Gennesaret has " a lovely floral 
carpet in summer and a thicket of thorns in winter." 

Up from the right-hand side of the roadway which lies 
along this plain are slopes of green; southward is Herodian 
Tiberias surrounded by hills; while across the blue sea are 
the bleak hills of Gadara, marching down to Moab and the 
Dead Sea. 

Rising behind Magdala are the bare cliffs of Wadi Hamam 
or the "Valley o Doves/ honeycombed with caves. Myriads 
of doves used to make their homes in these rocks in the 
days when Magdala had a unique local industry the sale 
of doves as a substitute for a lamb for the Temple sacrifice, 
In fact, hundreds still live here, but they are not the only ones 
to frequent these cliffs. The raven, eagle, and vulture have 
their nests here and can be seen soaring above the valley. The 
caves of Wadi Hamam have played their part since prehistoric 
times. Far up the narrow ravine closed in by walls of sheer 
rock, in one of the large caverns a skull was found which 
has been since called the "Galilee Man/ It represents a time 
forty thousand years B. c. The skull is now on view in the 
Palestine Museum in Jerusalem. In later times inhabitants 
took refuge in the caves in time of war; when Herod the Great 
was king, outlaws and bandits made them their hiding places 
from which to go forth to plunder near-by villages and people; 
hermits lived in them; today they are made inaccessible to man 
by the strong wire netting stretched across their openings. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 243 

Magdala, now called El Mejdel, once a place of some im 
portance, is a wretched village of hovels of mud and stone and 
black Bedouin tents, but beautiful of situation. It commands 
a view over the Plain of Gennesaret, the Sea of Galilee, and 
as far north as Hermon. Its name is always associated by 
Christians with that of Mary Magdalene, who was among the 
women ministering unto Jesus of their substance, healed by 
him of " seven devils," who followed him to the Cross, and saw 
Christ first in the garden after the resurrection. 


The things that are beautiful in Galilee are enduring and 
indestructible, so that man s foolishness and perversity can 
never annihilate them. The things that are beautiful near 
the Sea of Galilee are these: the sun and the moon and the 
stars, the grainfields and the trees, the lake, the hills, the 
simple people eager for sympathy and understanding, gospel 
stories, and an acute awareness of the "Man of Galilee." 
This land, which neither ignorance nor ecclesiastical greed 
can alter in outline, hallowed by sacred memories of him to 
whom " all life was beauty," is the true pilgrim s Galilee. 
The beauty which Jesus found here invites the Christian and 
rewards his stay if, coming here and searching his heart, he 
truly sings: 

"O Galilee! sweet Galilee! 
Where Jesus loved so much to be; 
O Galilee! blue Galilee! 
Come, sing thy song again to me." 


Travelling along the oldest road in the world to Damascus, I 
have a last view of Galilee, glimpses of the Jordan, am stopped 
for contraband at Rosh Pinna, and come within sight of the 
Mount of Transfiguration (Hermon). I travel the last five miles 
remembering Paul s conversion to Christianity. I wander in the 
" Street called Straight " and the bazaars, see the scene of Paul s 
escape from his enemies, enjoy the garden-court in a princely 
Syrian house, poke around an old khan, and linger at the Grand 
Mosque, formerly a pagan temple, then a Christian church, and 
now a Moslem holy place. I go back to read again an almost 
forgotten Greek inscription on a stone lintel. 

IT was time for me to leave Galilee for Syria. The road 
which I was to travel is probably the oldest in the world, 
having been in continuous use ever since the dawn of civiliza 
tion. It was the most important highway of five in Palestine 
during Jesus lifetime, but long before that it furnished the 
main connection between Mesopotamia and Egypt. By the 
time Israel settled permanently in the Promised Land there 
were already accustomed routes of travel Isaiah says: 
" There shall be a highway . . , like as there was for Israel 
in the day when he came up out of the land of Egypt." 
While in another place he refers to "the highway out of 
Egypt to Assyria." It was this old and famous road which I 
was to travel 

It must have had a name in the early days, but the only 
biblical writer who actually calls it by name is this same 
Isaiah who, when trying to make his message heard by an un 
responsive people, said: " Afflict her by way of the sea, be- 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 245 

yond Jordan, in Galilee. 55 It was called " Via Maris " or 
" Way of the Sea " by the Romans, because it touched and 
followed for a few miles along the beautiful Sea of Galilee. 

The road began at Joppa where the highway to Egypt en 
tered Palestine and ran through the Plain of Sharon through 
Antipatris to Pirathon. Here it separated into three branch 
roads. The first ran north along the east side of Carmel. The 
second ran through a pass northeast of Megiddo and north 
ward past Nazareth to Magdala. The third was used when 
the Plain of Esdraelon was too wet to cross in winter. It ran 
from Pirathon over the Plain of Dothan to Engannim, thence 
through the Valley of Jezreel to join near Mount Tabor. The 
main road continued north from Magdala-on-the-Sea to Da 
mascus to meet the great East road direct to Mesopotamia. It 
was by this latter route that I was to proceed to Syria. 

Motoring up from the lake into the Mount of Hattin, the 
car swung onto this main highway north which is still in use 
today and is still known by its ancient name " Way of the 
Sea." Beginning at Magdala as it did in the Bible days, it 
runs along the Plain of Gennesaret and follows up a gorge to 
Chorazin situated some distance back from the Sea. Along 
here I looked back for my last view of this lake country with 
its rolling hills and deep valleys. My eyes sweeping the circuit 
of the lake saw a cobalt-blue, harp-shaped expanse whose 
emerald bays and long sweep of -terraced slopes were gay with 
spangled wild flowers and shrubs. The sails of several little 
ships dotting the lucent water gave a sense of movement and 
variety to an otherwise quiet scene. The stark east hill- 
country of the Gadarenes was softened into a pink blur by 
the heat-haze of noonday. The buildings at Capernaum and 
Tiberias on the water s edge gleamed white in the brilliant 
sunshine. A few Bedouin tents made black patches in a 
meadow of scarlet, yellow, and purple wild flowers. 

I turned regretfully away from this scene of bewitching 

246 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

beauty to behold as we drove along many glimpses of the 
Jordan, lying sparkling in the sunlight like a silver ribbon on 
the surface of the dull brown earth to where it enters Galilee 
near Bethsaida Julias. It winds its way two hundred miles 
from its source in the Anti-Lebanons down through the wa 
ters of Merom and Galilee to end finally in the Dead Sea. 
Glorious are the views of this turbulent river which drops 
from a height of seventeen hundred feet above sea level to 
about thirteen hundred feet below sea level and forms a nat 
ural gorge. But no less glorious in the springtime are the 
wares of beauty on display. Yellow, pink, white, red, and 
blue flowers, whole fields of them, which spread into the dis 
tance as far as eye can see on the green highlands of northern 
Galilee. Always to the north of us, as a guide, there rose 
against the blue sky the great white crown of the king of 
Syria, Mount Hermon, rising out of the brown plains. 

The " Way of the Sea " keeps west of Jordan until it 
reaches the Bridge of Jacob s Daughters where- it changes its 
course northeastward to cross finally into Syria to end at Da 
mascus. We stopped briefly at Rosh Pinna where the Pal 
estine customs officials went through their formalities. 

I remember that once as I came hurrying down from Syria 
anxious to reach the cool hospice on the Mount of Beatitudes 
at an early hour in the day being held up unduly long while 
the Jewish officials unloaded my car searching for contraband. 

It all happened because of an Oriental rug which I declared 
upon their questioning. Its weight aroused their suspicions. 
Upon weighing the bundled Farhan, all neatly sewn into 
burlap, the men, after much head-wagging, gesticulating, and 
delay, asked what made the bundle weigh so heavily. I de 
clared I didn t know. Snip, snip, and all the sewing was un 
done, the rug unrolled, and there lay the cause of its unusual 
weight. I had completely forgotten some old camel bells 
which I had discovered one night in the dim bazaars of Da- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 247 

mascus, and which to save trouble and bundles I had had 
wrapped in here. Perhaps this discovery of the cause of the 
excess weight saved me a little money because these customs 
men at Rosh Pinna insisted that I pay duty to carry my con 
traband rug through Palestine, even though I was en route to 
a steamer bound for America. I do know that it didn t save 
my temper because my exasperation knew no bounds when I 
saw this five by seven rug completely unrolled, discovered 
there was no cord to re-tie it, and no string nor strong needle 
with which to sew it back into its burlap case for easy carry 
ing. There it lay, just a heap of rug, on the scales at Rosh 
Pinna. After paying four dollars duty the officials lost interest 
in my dilemma and retired to their darkened, bare offices for a 
smoke. It must have taken me an hour to repack and for 
Charlie to secure the luggage again on the rear of the car be 
fore we could proceed on our way to Galilee. 

From the Customs House the road north goes on to El 
Kuneitra, the Syrian Customs Station, which is charmingly 
set in a grove of eucalyptus trees. Its chief claim to charm or 
a few moments of a traveller s time beyond passport formal 
ities is the beautiful vista which it offers of Jordan as it flows 
down from Hermon through banks of tangled bush and flow 
ering pink and white oleanders. Kuneitra is pleasant as a 
stopping-place for lunch. It is cool under the spreading trees, 
usually quiet and restful. A gaunt, hungry, homeless dog 
haunts the place and with jealous eyes and snapping move 
ments indicates he begrudges every morsel of food that does 
not find its way into his yawning jaws. One day a wrinkled 
peasant woman squatted near-by backed against the largest 
tree, her gaily-colored, hand-woven basket beside her. She 
looked neither to the right nor left, she asked for nothing, but 
we knew she was aware of the white bread, the legs of fried 
chicken, and the hard-boiled eggs in our lunch baskets. We 
left a half dozen eggs on the rickety lunch table as we moved 

248 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

away toward the car. Looking back as we drove off, we no 
ticed the eggs had disappeared, probably into her basket, 


Motoring along, the romance of this old road came back to 
haunt me* Over it ancient India sent her products that in 
time reached Venice, trains of camels leisurely passed along 
it sometimes to be sold in droves, sometimes carrying on their 
backs grain from the fertile Hauran. Along it sped the 
rumbling chariots from Assyria or Rome when they were 
world-dominant powers. I could imagine the constant proces 
sion through all the centuries : soldiers with their spear points 
glinting in the sun from the great nations whose glory and 
power have waned, caravans of merchants and traders carry 
ing silks and spices from the East or cedarwood and sandals 
from the West, tourists from all the corners of the civilized 
world East and West with endless variety in their dress, 
manners, race, and language, princes in gay palanquins from 
the far-off romantic East, and even some of the immortal fig 
ures of the parables of Jesus. 


We came within full sight of that great mountain range of 
Anti-Lebanon/ lifting its shoulders against the blue sky and 
crowned by the lofty, snow-capped peak of Mount Hermon 
whose white dome had been visible to me from every section 
of both eastern and western Palestine. So beautiful is it in its 
majesty that Hebrew poetry is full of phrases depicting its 
charm. From the Sea of Galilee it is seemingly almost within 
reach and Jesus must have looked upon it in all its various 
aspects in sunshine and moonlight, clear and sharp against 
the blue of a winter sky or shimmering through the heat haze 
of late summer. During the latter part of his ministry he 
brought his disciples to dwell for some time under the very 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 249 

shadow of this mountain; to stand by the gushing fountain of 
the Jordan that springs from its base; and one night to climb 
its slopes to behold the glory of their transfigured Lord. 
Near-by sanctuaries in this mountain, where Pan was wor 
shipped in a grotto, and where in a gleaming white temple a 
fellow-being, Augustus Caesar, was worshipped as God, Jesus 
called forth that ringing confession of his Messiahship from 
Peter. Exhibiting more than usual spiritual discernment 
Peter declared: " Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living 
God." Here in a locale where two distasteful systems of re 
ligion were carrying on side by side, the forces of nature and 
the incarnation of political power, Jesus purposed founding 
his Church on that understanding of the Christ which lay be 
hind Peter s confession at Caesarea Philippi. 

Never after seeing Mount Hermon with its extreme eleva 
tion, its snowfields, its miles and miles of desolation, and feel 
ing its loneliness is it possible for anyone to doubt that this 
is the " high mountain apart " into which Jesus led three of 
his disciples and where being transfigured before them they 
heard, " This is my Son, my Beloved, listen to him/ 5 

" The tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus ** 
could refer to none other than this mountain. King Og the 
giant, who " ruled in Mount Hermon, and in Salecah, and in 
all Bashan," could from this natural watch-tower overlook his 
vast dominions. I turned from contemplation of this " eter 
nal tent of snow " to overlook this fertile Plain of Bashan fad 
ing into the great desert on the east. 

This is known as the Hauran today. It is the granary of 
Syria. From Hermon. to the River Yarmuk a large part of its 
rich volcanic soil is tilled for wheat, while the rest is covered 
by thick herbage to which the Bedouin swarm with their 
flocks and herds. This " land of the giants " has always been 
a cattle country as well as a granary. The " strong bulls of 
Bashan, 3 its " fat kine," its " rams/ 3 and its " fallings " figure 

250 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

largely in the Old Testament narratives. Today there were a 
few black tents of the Bedouin already here. 


Soon the silvery Pharpar came out to meet me. This nar 
row stream reminded me of Naaman, the Syrian general, who 
was healed from leprosy by the prophet Elisha to whom his 
attention was directed by a Jewish captive maid. He- had 
asked the Prophet who urged him to wash in Jordan, " Are 
not the Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than 
all the waters of Israel? " Scarcely in the wildest flights of 
the imagination a river even in the springtime. Pharpar is a 
swiftly flowing mountain stream which pierces this barren 
desert scorched by a hot sun surrounding Damascus. 


Some five miles outside the city along the " Way of the 
Sea," in view of the orchards of Damascus, the majesty of 
Hermon, and the bare ridge of the Anti-Lebanons occurred 
the most important event which has ever taken place in Da 
mascus and one of the most important in the history of man 
kind. It is the conversion of a Jewish rabbi, Saul, who be 
came the greatest of Christian missionaries, and who still by 
his correspondence treasured by the Church within the New 
Testament inspires and directs the thought of Christendom. 
The phenomenal occurrence is reported three times in the 
Book of the Acts of the Apostles and is several times alluded 
to by Paul himself in letters. It occurred hereabouts a few 
years after the crucifixion of Jesus and a few weeks after the 
martyrdom of Stephen, possibly 34 or 35 A. D. Paul had 
come about one hundred and seventy miles among some ex 
quisite scenery alive with memories of Naaman the leper, and 
back two thousand years to Abraham s old steward Eliezer of 
Damascus. For six days he had ridden alone with no one but 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 251 

servants to talk with; no doubt they were days and nights in 
which he thought of that martyr whose face was " as the face 
of an angel." He had proceeded up the road from Jerusalem 
after witnessing the death of Stephen, who was the first Chris 
tian martyr. He was, according to the Book of the Acts, " still 
breathing murderous threats against the Lord s disciples"; 
but I believe he was troubled with secret misgivings, haunting 
doubts: "Could Stephen have been right?" "Didn t the 
prophet Isaiah write of a suffering servant, 6 who hath borne 
our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him 
stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted * ? " " Are the rabbis 
and my teacher Gamaliel wrong? " 

When reaching the hilltop overlooking Damascus, the 
crisis came. Suddenly from the heavens flashed a blinding 
glory, " brighter than the sun, around me and my fellow- 
travellers." And in the midst of the glory he saw the Christ 
whom never again did he lose sight of in all his lifetime. 
And then he heard a voice speak to him in Hebrew " Saul, 
Saul, why do you persecute me? " a voice which never again 
in all his lifetime did he cease hearing. " Who are you, sir? " 
c; I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." And then there 
were no more doubts, nor questionings, then or ever; Saul 
gave himself in absolute surrender to the vision of the Christ 
on the road to Damascus and all his life reiterated: " Have I 
not seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? " 

Occupied with this momentous vision which was to 
change the course of his whole life, he went on into the city* 
He was blind from his experience and they led him by the 
hand. Paul s memories in later years of this old city must 
have been beautiful indeed because it dawned upon him here 
first what faith in Christ meant and it brought a deep peace 
and beauty into his life which he later coveted for all men. I 
do not think he regretted having missed the scenery. He was 
not like Jesus, who was a lover of nature, who spoke of lilies 

252 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

how they grow, of fields white for harvest, and of the birds of 
the air. Paul was never in the mood for scenery. 

He would have missed completely the beauty in the ap 
proach to Damascus which looks today like a diamond set in 
a dark green of fruitful gardens, in contrast to the barren 
desert surrounding this oasis. Gardens and orchards extend 
for several miles around the city and these are refreshed by 
streams of water from Anti-Lebanon. Once the great com 
mercial center of the world and the place from which cara 
vans started on their journeys East or West, today it is the 
capital of the new independent Republic of Syria. It re 
minded me that long ago Isaiah said, fic The head of Syria is 
Damascus/* It is a large, flat city of domes lying on an enor 
mous plain with sand stretching to the east and khaki-colored 
hills and mountains rising to the west. Mosques dot the 
landscape; clearly in early morning I have heard the calls of 
the muezzins from these slender minarets which stab the sky. 
It is shaded by fruit and forest trees the poplar, cypress, 
palm, walnut, lemon, orangey apricot, fig tree, and pome 
granate, lending a rich variety of color, laden with fruits, and 
filling the air with sweet fragrance. In early spring it is a 
bower of apricot, blossoms. The Abana River of the Old 
Testament, now called the River Barada, rushes along its nar 
row bed on the plain and invades the very center of the city. 
The sound of fresh water in what otherwise would be a 
parched and arid country was sufficient to make Damascus 
seem a paradise on earth to the ancients. Seeing the city and 
its gardens from Salihiyeh, Mohammed is reported to have 
turned away and exclaimed: " Man can have but one para 
dise; mine is fixed above." 

Saul went directly to the house of Judas in the Street called 
Straight and there Ananias, a follower of Jesus, came and 
healed him. The house of Ananias and the house of Judas 
where the light of Christianity finally dawned on Paul are 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 253 

still shown, but a little Mosque, a holy place, covers the lat 
ter site. " The street which is called Straight " still bears that 
name. It is nearly a quarter of a mile long and like many 
streets in Damascus is covered with an arched corrugated iron 
roof through whose holes, made by French bullets, the sun 
pierces like a shaft from a giant searchlight. 


Damascus is essentially an Arab city, despite improvements 
inaugurated by the West in buildings, roads, and travel com 
forts* The streets with the few exceptions where tramcars run 
and dodging motor vehicles add to the general confusion of a 
large walking population are narrow, crooked, and form a 
labyrinth which makes a guide almost indispensable. 

Some travellers are lured by the reasonable prices and ex 
cellent quality to explore more than once the numerous 
bazaars displaying in little shops precious carpets and fine- 
woven prayer rugs, Damask silks y silver-shot textiles, pearl 
inlay furniture, copper vessels, and silver- jewelled trinkets. 

Instead of these things it is the life of Damascus, odorous 
and many-colored, swirling about me in the shadows of the 
bazaars that has lured me again and again. I have watched 
"fascinated as a camel train loaded with Hauran wheat swung 
by; as tall, long-necked camels ridden by swaying Arabs 
swathed in red, white, and green padded along; as shepherds 
with their flocks moved strangely because they seemed to be 
stepping out of the Bible; or as a boy came down the street 
balancing a tray of flat loaves on his head. There was always 
the empty-eyed blind man feeling his way along the high 
dinghy walls; an Arab mother trailing her long gown through 
the dusty streets with her little one riding atop her shoulder. 
There were Syrians in baggy, long-seated bloomers sitting on 
curbs gossiping among themselves as they soaked up sun. A 
few stood yawning, some staring, others fingering a Moslem s 

254 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

chief toy a string of beads. These listened to sensuous Ara 
bic music issuing from a cheap phonograph. I have come 
upon dark bundles of rags lying inside doorways or on ledges 
and watched them stir and stretch out lean, brown arms. 
Venerable men with patriarchal beards, attired in white head 
cloths tied with roped camel cords, striped gowns, crude san 
dals, moved out from the shadows of these tunnel-like streets. 
Bare-legged water-carriers in rags with patched goatskins 
shuffled along. Professional letter- writers still sat on sidewalks 
near crowded corners not too far from modern street cars. 
The itinerant barbers were always busy setting up their ton- 
sorial parlors whenever and wherever a customer was willing. 
Not the least among these attractions have been the frisky 
donkeys who hesitated occasionally as they clattered over the 
rough pavements to bray a loud flirtatious greeting. 

The lemonade vendor jangled his brass drinking cups and 
tempted hot, thirsty customers with reminders that his lemon 
ade was the best in the world, ice-cold and packed in the 
snows of Lebanon. Stocks of grape leaves were tended by 
veiled Moslem women. Flirting donkeys, grunting, grum 
bling camels, shrill cries of vendors, pitiful whines of beggars, 
bursts of weird Oriental music, tinkling of street-car bells, and 
the honks of French motor horns are the strange symphony of" 
sounds which has provided music for this Eastern extrava 
ganza, which is the same as when " The Arabian Nights " was 
first written down. It has been the tide of humanity that 
toils and slithers through these alley-like streets, the shrill bab 
ble, the barter and bustle, the never-ending pattern of color 
which is the commonplace East about its daily business that 
has drawn me. 


Paul had another experience while he was in the city. He 
remained here after the restoration of his sight for some time 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 255 

and went to the synagogues and preached " Christ as the son 
of God," His right-about-face in attitude somewhat con 
founded those who hitherto had known him as a persecutor of 
the followers of Jesus. So plans were made by his enemies to 
destroy him but discovering the plot his friends one night 
helped him to escape from Damascus by means of a basket let 
down over the city wall. Most of the old walls have disap 
peared and new ones have been built. Considering the 
changes which Damascus has undergone, one must rely on 
tradition. While the place in the wall where this occurred is 
pointed out to visitors and may not be satisfactory in its ex 
tremely modernized condition, there can be little doubt about 
the general locality. 


Walking tortuous lanes with high, bare, white walls on 
each side with an occasional ordinary-looking doorway, no 
stranger to Damascus would ever guess that behind such ex 
ternal plainness are luxurious residences, sometimes fairy pal 
aces; that behind such closed doors are hidden visions of 
lovely courtyards where water splashes on marble fountains, 
where myrtle and jasmine spread themselves in joyous aban 
don, and where oranges and lemons gleam through their 
screen of shiny, green leaves. If one would see an elegant, 
typical residence of a princely Syrian family, then he should 
visit the Azm Palace. It was built in the eighteenth century 
by the last governor of Damascus. It has now been turned 
into a sort of museum by the French authorities. 

The entrance is large enough to admit one person at a time, 
It opens into a passage which leads into the principal court of 
the house. The first time I stood in the passageway, I looked 
through and beyond to an indescribably lovely courtyard, 
where fountains splashed under the spreading orange and 
lemon trees, where rich greenery of pepper trees was mirrored 

256 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

in silvered pools, and where brilliant bougainvillea tumbled 
over trellis-work. I stepped through into this superb foun 
tain-court, which is surrounded by the Selamlik (men s quar 
ters) and the Haremlik (women s and children s quarters). 
Of the latter there were three over which in this enormous 
Eastern house eunuchs watched. The sun at noon shone 
brightly down into this garden-court which is canopied only 
by the clear blue sky and turned the nearest pool into a pool 
of quicksilver. There was a faint smell of flowers. It seemed 
so strangely hushed. It seemed a place for whispering, but 
this day only the. rippling of the fountains and the brush of 
leaves whispered their longings to the brilliant sky. I hesi 
tated, remembering that once upon a time this place had re 
sounded with the cries, reproaches, and laughter of concubines 
and children. I hesitated for more than a moment as if I 
were intruding on a privileged privacy. The feeling stayed 
with me. So it was some time .after I stepped across the 
marble-paved court before I noticed how elaborately laid 
down the pavement was upon which I was walking. 

The house is handsome but hardly luxuriously comfortable 
from my Western point of view. The chief apartments of this 
three-hundred-roomed palace open on to the courtyard. 
There are no doors to the rooms, not even to the sleeping 
rooms, but open doorways perhaps were closed in their time 
by lovely curtains only. These rooms hold beautifully carved 
chests and screens, low divans, choice ceramics, rare rugs, and 
textiles. But it was the marble-trimmed Turkish baths which 
were the revelation to me. Interesting, to put it mildly ! 

Tucked away in other of Damascus narrow streets are the 
old khans in which traders and caravan men once lodged. 
Here at last was something in this oldest city of the world in 
which there had been little or no change in two thousand 
years. They are still lovely buildings with Moorish arches, 
fountains in the center, and galleries from which the guest 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 257 

chambers are reached; handsome buildings even with dust 
settled over everything and lively odors rising everywhere. 
Today these fine old buildings are either not used at all or are 
used as storehouses by wealthy merchants. It was such an 
one I visited. It seemed a khan of incredible age. I had little 
doubt of the truth of what Jacob told me here: that if a 
farmer who had lived in a village outside Damascus at the 
beginning of the first century were to be resurrected and 
brought here he would not observe any change in it. Donkeys 
and camels were still stalled here as in the beginning of the 
Christian era, bags of grain appeared to have been lying here 
ever since it was first opened, and very old rugs and worn 
burlap hung over bins and galleries. It was from such a place 
as this that Joseph led Mary that night because " there was 
no room for them in the inn." 

Against the wall I saw an old chest from which dangled the 
tassels of an antique saddle-bag. I walked over to inspect it 
more closely. Looking within I was amazed to see it held a 
huddled, sleeping porter.^ Probably after he had crawled in 
side to escape attention in this busy warehouse, the tired fel 
low had thrown the saddle-bag over himself and it had fallen 
over the edge of the chest to hang with an air of almost 
studied carelessness. He was oblivious to all the confusion, 
hustle, and bustle swirling about him. Certainly no one 
seemed to miss him in this crowded place and it didn t seem 
likely that they would look for him in this hiding place. I 
turned away, leaving him quite contented with his lodging in 
the stable of a caravansary. Seeing this, I agreed with Jacob 
that a resurrected visitor from the first century would not feel 
out of place or puzzled in this khan. 


From the moment that its white domes and piercing mina 
rets have burst upon me, approaching it either from Galilee 

258 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

or Beirut, Damascus has seemed magical and entrancing. 
The spell is never broken. 

I have threaded my way first through the streets to the 
Grand Mosque with its three arresting minarets and heard far 
above my head the melancholy, long-drawn, high-pitched 
chant of the muezzin as he calls the faithful to devotions: 

" Allah akbar! Allah akbar! God is great . . . ! 
There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet! 
Gome to prayer! " 

These plaintive notes float over the city at the five hours of 
prayer, seem suspended for a moment before they quaver 
finally into silence. 

The Mosque of the Omayades or the Grand Mosque is a 
place to which all visitors come once and to which all lovers 
of monuments of beauty come twice and thrice. Originally 
here stood the " House of Rimmon," the Sun-god, where 
Naaman in his newly-awakened faith in the power of the 
God of Israel deposited two mule-loads of earth which he had 
brought with him from Palestine. A Roman temple later was 
erected on the site already considered sacred. John the Bap 
tist s preaching was done in Damascus here where the armies 
of King Aretus went to war against Herod. It is therefore 
not surprising that the first Christian church in Damascus, a 
Byzantine basilica, was dedicated to John the Baptist and 
built upon this site. For a time during the seventh century 
Christians and Moslems worshipped here together under the 
same roof. Then in the eighth century, it was demanded 
by the Moslems and this building was transformed into a 
mosque by the fifth of the Omayade khalifs. Retaining the 
pointed arches and the ground-plan of the three-aisled basil 
ica, the whole was enriched with costly mosaics of gold, pre 
cious stones and glass, and the floor was paved with marbles 
of many colors. It became a show place, a gorgeous edifice, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 259 

one of the most sumptuous of the Eastern mosques, rivalling 
the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Today it retains its ex 
treme simplicity in line and possesses only a sombre grandeur 
all because its magnificence was almost wholly destroyed by 
fire in 1069, ravaged by Tamerlane in 1400, and again dam 
aged by fire in 1893. But I am quite sure that it is its glorious 
marble columns and flooring and its few remaining choice mo 
saics which bring lovers of beauty again and again to its 
portals. They are worth a visit! 

The rich mosaics, dating from the eighth century, decorate 
now only the entrance and the cloister wall along one side of 
the courtyard. Originally they ran around the whole vast en 
closure. For centuries they lay buried beneath whitewash 
from which only in the twentieth century are they being resur 
rected gradually. M. Eustace de Lorey, eminent Syrian 
archaeologist, believes that some of these scenes represent 
cafes along the Abana River. Seeing them, it isn t hard for 
one who has been travelling through Syria to believe that 
truly these are episodes from real life executed with an amaz 
ing delicacy. The mosaics were constructed mainly of glass 
cubes. The art has fallen into decay and been lost. One of 
my treasures is a tiny cube of green glass which had loosened 
and dropped from the high wall. I picked it up in the court 
yard and slipped it into my pocket during my first visit to 

The west entrance to the court of the Grand Mosque is 
through the Moslem book bazaar where the dwindling tribes 
of booksellers, only about a half dozen, hold together. From 
the decrepit buildings rises a most impressive architectural 
feature. It is the Arch of Triumph. All that remains of it 
today are its ruins, mainly a ruined top of a Roman arch, 
broken, but still proud, lofty, indomitable; three Corinthian 
capitals support a richly carved architrave and a portion of 
the battered arch. 

260 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Lingering just inside this west gate to the fourth holiest 
place for Islam holds a strange fascination for me. Somehow 
I have never tired of standing on the mellowed marble floor 
which time has seemed to caress and looking out through 
double doors mounted in bronze to the ceaseless activity in the 
bookseller s bazaar and beyond to the battered fragment of the 
Graeco-Roman period, the Triumphal Arch. How close the 
past and the present do seem in the Near East ! I have loved 
to linger here as veiled Moslem women slipped silently from 
the thronged, noisy bazaar-world into the entrance to the 
hushed courtyard. If for an instant they lifted their veils to 
reveal an olive-tinted cheek, a pair of languid brown eyes, and 
a hint of a smile, I have felt that sense of peace and happiness 
which makes the whole world kin. I have never felt derision 
in my heart as some entering worshipper decorously slipped 
from his dusty sandals, leaving them at the gateway safe for 
his return. It has always reminded me as it does the faithful 
Moslem of this command: " Put off thy shoes from off thy 
feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." 
IVe loved to hear the splashing at the fountain in the marble 
courtyard while devotees washed their heads and feet in an 
ticipation of prayer within that marble-columned sanctuary, 
whose floor is covered with bright-colored Oriental rugs, and 
where files of men are seen bowing, kneeling, and stretching 
out their arms toward Mecca. 

What is the strange fascination which makes a romantic 
visitor love to linger in these spaces? Perhaps it is the air of 
peace and tranquillity which completely envelops him here. 
Somehow the sense of quiet is very real in mosques; there is 
always an intense and feeling gravity in their genial atmos 
phere. Perhaps it is the very simplicity of Moslem worship. 
Perhaps it is the sense of leisure which is so lost in my Occi 
dental world. Perhaps the beauty and splendor of extreme 
simplicity draw many a modern pilgrim. I only know that I 

Photographed by Harriet-Louise H. Patterson 

Once a Christian church this building has been converted, 
into a Moslem mosque. The Mosque of the Omayades or the 
Grand Mosque in Damascus, Syria, is the fourth holiest 
place for Islam. Through the opened bronze doors may be 
seen the bookseller s bazaar and beyond it a battered frag 
ment of the Graeco-Romah period, the Triumphal Arch. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 261 

hope to go again in my lifetime to linger in these harmonious 

On the other side of the court,, not far away, is the resting- 
place of Saladin. Over the entrance is an inscription in 
Arabic: "O God, accept this soul and open to him the gate 
of heaven that last victory for which he hoped/ 5 This was 
the man before whom the Crusaders in the twelfth century 
had to retreat and leave Syria to Moslems from whom they 
had tried vainly to wrest it. Yet today he is remembered as 
" Saladin the Merciful. 5 * Moslems recall even now his mercy 
to defeated enemies, his chivalrous act of never failing to rec 
ognize and acknowledge any act of bravery, even among his 

The cool quiet of the tree-shaded courtyard which holds the 
small building sheltering the sarcophagus of this illustrious 
man is in contrast to the busy street outside. The high-pitched 
voice of a woman, the cry of an infant, the twittering of birds, 
the song of a fountain, the brush of leaves touched by a light 
breeze are the boundary between the two worlds, the living 
and the dead. 


Before leaving Damascus, I have always returned to the 
Grand Mosque. I mentioned that it retains traces of having 
been a Christian church. On the great bronze door is a cast 
ing of the cup of the Holy Communion, but it is not that 
which draws me. I have borrowed a ladder, crawled up on 
the roof of one of the buildings constructed against the older 
portions of the original edifice, and searched out a stone lintel 
carved with leaves and flowers and an inscription in Greek. I 
have read: 

" Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom, and thy 
dominion endureth throughout all generations." 

262 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Unknown to all but a few Moslems worshipping in the 
mosque below, forgotten by all but a few Christian visitors 
who find it difficult to read this eloquent stone has endured 
and waited bravely since 395 A. D. 


Leaving Damascus I drive via the River Barada (Abana) to 
Baalbek, City of the Sun. Few ruins at first sight create such im 
pressions of beauty, majesty^ and human skill as this accumula 
tion of masonry representing four architectural ages. I wander 
among enormous blocks piled up by the Romans and through 
courts succeeding one another in vastness and stand beside the 
six stupendous columns remaining from the Great Temple. I 
am awed by the gigantic foundation stones^ perhaps the work of 
Phoenician stone-cutters. I have a lovely view from the quad 

BAALBEK was the first city of massive ruins that I ever 
visited. Leaving Damascus, going west via the River 
Barada (Abana) to Chtaura, and then north, I came upon it 
looming in pagan grandeur on the Plain of the Beka a be 
tween the Lebanons and the Anti-Lebanons. It seemed to me 
at the time to contain the most imposing, majestic structures 
that men had ever raised. First sights make strong impres 
sions. Even now Baalbek ranks in my memory with the Pyra 
mids, and with the Athenian Acropolis, and with the " Street 
of Columns " at Jerash. 

Some travellers believe that the Athenian Acropolis cannot 
be surpassed for beauty and interest. I wonder if perhaps it 
is because it combines a distinct type, so vast a volume of his 
tory, so great a pageant of immortal memories for the average 
individual? Baalbek is less known to most travellers than 
either the Pyramids or the Acropolis at Athens. Perhaps this 
accounts for the reason that it holds less thrill and invitation 
in prospect. I prophesy for many who will go to Baalbek a 
distinct pleasure among these beautiful Hellenic ruins and 


264 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

when at home again a frequent turning in memory to this very- 
ancient Syrian Acropolis mounted on a plain toward the sky, 
an impressive silent watchman. Happy the traveller whose lot 
it shall be to see Baalbek in her present declining glory! 

Perhaps the first view is the moment when six gigantic pil 
lars come suddenly into sight. They are perched upon stu 
pendous foundations. These are the crowning feature of 
Baalbek. Wonder at their size, wonder that they have stood 
the ravages of time so long simply fill the spectator and leave 
him speechless. One never wearies of looking at these six 
columns. At any distance, from any side, or in any light they 
are the same majestic, awe-inspiring objects, almost a dream 
well-dreamt under a dying sunset. 


Baalbek is a rambling town, three and a half thousand feet 
above the sea, nestling in the green grove which enfolds it 
and the ruins. Its few hundred modest houses are patched 
out often with marble and granite columns and temple stones. 
It seems an appropriately simple environment for the site of 
so ancient a religiouis cult. There is a little stream which 
twists here and there and everywhere, past millstones and 
orchards, and which irrigates the valley. The trudging, silent 
peasant folk do not disturb the utter silence here. It is only 
at the Hotel Palmyra with the waiting, fawning tradesmen 
that the modern world seems near and the ancient far off. 
However, no one could nurse an annoyance long in the silent 
lanes of Baalbek, or when one stands beneath six towering 
columns, or among the vast aggregation of fallen stone tem 

Courts, underground passages, and altars, according to 
archaeologists, show successive alterations of Roman, Byzan 
tine, Crusader, and Moslem civilizations. The combined 
height of that vast wall and the stately columns which appear 

Photographed by Harriet-Lotus e H, Patterson 

Baalbek looms in pagan grandeur on the Plain of the Beka a 
between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain like te a 
giant s fairy tale in stone." The first view of the Syrian 
Acropolis is the moment when six gigantic pillars remaining 
from the peristyle of the stupendous Great Temple come 
suddenly into view. At any distance, from any side, or in 
any light they are the same majestic objects. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 265 

to taper near their tops makes the average visitor to Baalbek 
dizzy with their height* The capitals which these bear and 
the richly sculptured entablatures that hold them together as 
six giant brothers arm-in-arm are so high that the decora 
tions richly but boldly carved upon them seem fine and deli 
cate. So -massive are the carefully chiselled figures that it is 
easy to hide oneself in their curves and convolutions. 

Is it hard to believe me when I say that " here size has 
found supreme expression " ? If devotion could be measured 
by dimensions then the worshippers of Jupiter who built this 
temple must have considered themselves and been so consid 
ered by their contemporaries as first in piety among the sons of 
men. Here are to be found some of the most massive stones 
ever hewn by human hands. 

The greatest of them number only four. One of the four 
still lies in the quarry half a mile or so from the town, just as 
it was prepared for removal. The monolith is among the 
largest stones ever quarried in any part of the world. It 
weighs forty tons. It lies in its bed as if reluctantly dropped 
by departing workers. This one remains attached yet to the 
native rock. It is the wonder of architects, scholars, and men 
from everywhere. Because of its attachment to the rock, it is 
called by the Arabs : " stone of the pregnant woman/ Just 
think of its size: sixty-eight feet long, seventeen feet wide, 
fourteen feet high ! Can you imagine moving a stone like that 
out of the mountains and up and down hills for almost a mile 
without the aid of steam, electricity, or any kind of machin 
ery? That is the type of work that the Romans were able to 
do eighteen hundred years ago ! Three of its giant comrades 
are in place at the Acropolis and they alone make one layer 
of the gigantic wall. 

Some question if these cyclopean blocks of stone aren t the 
works of Phoenician stone-cutters such as Hiram s men of 
Tyre, who are mentioned in the Book of Kings as helping Solo- 

266 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

mon s workmen to fashion " great stones " for the foundation 
of the Temple at Jerusalem. Finding them already here it 
may well be that the Romans used them in constructing this 
later pagan temple. 

Let me further describe these colossal stones which were 
quarried near Baalbek. They say that from each of them 
could be built a stone house thirty feet high and sixty feet 
square with solid walls a foot thick. Imagine lifting these co 
lossal stones onto a stone structure about twenty-three feet 
above the ground, They are so well joined that one can 
hardly drive a razor blade between any two of them. Some 
one has said that this place is " a giant s fairy tale in stone." 
It is quite true that no one can describe adequately the vast- 
ness, the size, the beauty of these ruins which suffered through 
centuries from earthquake, fires, wars, and vandalism. 


Now for a bit about Baalbek s history. It was known in 
the days of the Phoenicians; even Solomon s name is coupled 
with this ancient place. The Arabs believe that Solomon first 
built these cyclopean walls. In ancient days the whole coun 
try surrounding Baalbek and Palmyra was given over to Baal- 
worship. Strabo, Pliny, and Josephus mention Baalbek under 
its Greek name, Heliopolis. During the time of Jesus it was a 
great city; and in the second and third centuries Baalbek was 
a Roman colony. When Roman civilization was at its height 
and its emperors were building great cities in all parts of the 
far-flung Empire, in Asia Minor and in northern Africa, tem 
ples were put up here in honor of Jupiter which had within 
them smaller temples to Venus and Bacchus. The Romans 
worshipped Baal, the Sun-god, as one of the greatest deities, 
but they had other gods without number. The Great Temple 
was dedicated to Jupiter, identified with Baal and the Sun, 
but with him were associated Venus and Mercury under 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 267 

whose triple protection this ancient city was placed by the 

Constantine, a late Roman Emperor, favored Christianity. 
So he caused to be erected here a Christian basilica. For a 
brief time then the great pagan temple was converted into a 
Christian church. The Greeks and the Romans had come 
and gone when the Arab occupation began in the Middle 
Ages. Baalbek finally fell under Moslem control in 636 A. D. 
Under them this Acropolis was changed into a fortified strong 
hold. Pagan shrine, Christian church, Moslem fortress . . . 
shattered shells of all these still mingle on the present site. 


The Acropolis of Baalbek consists of two temples near to 
gether. One is vast and high, the Great Temple, but of it 
only six columns of the peristyle remain. The other is smaller 
and lower, known as the Temple of Bacchus. The pillars sur 
rounding the Temple of Bacchus still support the ceiling. 
Here one finds busts of Venus, Irene, Minerva, Mars, Diana, 
Victory, Bacchus, and Ceres, still wonderfully preserved. The 
carvings on the doorway consist of beautiful conventional de 
signs: garlands of flowers, sheaves of wheat, bacchantes, and 
dryads. It is marvelous that these should have borne the pas 
sage of time and the ravages of men so long. Parts of the 
pillars, friezes, capitals, and walls of the greater temple have 
fallen into the hollow between the two. It makes a magnifi 
cent but cluttered boulevard. All this is here for visitors to 
wander through humbly and to reverently observe what su 
perhuman tasks have been undertaken by men to lift them 
selves to the divine. 

I have picked my way amid a profusion of gigantic shafts, 
stupendous pediments, vast cornices, mammoth friezes that 
baffle imagination. It seems as if these structures were beyond 
human effort. Only by superhuman effort can imagination 

268 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

struggle with the problem of how men must have worked 
years to cut these stones, planned to make each one fit to its 
neighbor, carved these figures, and then how a dauntless army 
of workers must have mounted dizzying scaffolds and swung 
them into place. So colossal are these ruins that the mind 
gives up the task of solving riddles of how these structures 
came to be. Standing on the Acropolis, I have wondered with 
what emotions the ancients viewed this spectacle when they 
rested finally from all their labors and surveyed the vastest col 
umned structure Rome ever erected. 

From end to end it was more than a thousand feet long. It 
consisted of a stately staircase entrance which led into the 
Propylaea now gone, a hexagonal vestibule or court having a 
number of alcoves with fan-shaped roofs supported by red 
granite columns and its center open to the sky, a Great Court 
which is the largest of all ancient courts of sacrifice in exist 
ence, and a staircase which led to the enclosed temple which 
we know as the Great Temple. Each section was more mag 
nificent than the other. Think what it must have looked like 
as the worshipper mounted the stairway, walked slowly 
through the forecourt to Jupiter s shrine; as he passed from 
wonder to wonder think how he must have been bowed in 
awe before the majesty of a deity who could inspire such a 
monument ! 

The Great Court, sixty-five yards wide, built high above 
the plain, was the largest section of the edifice. Its Altar of 
Sacrifice was in the center. It was lined about with alcoves 
and shrines containing statues of deities. Today with the pa 
tient work of archaeologists, remains of its mosaic floors can 
be seen, but all else is a glorious ruin. Towering above this 
Court of Sacrifice from its massive foundations, raised above 
this level and reached by a flight of steps, was the crowning 
shrine to Jupiter or the Temple of the Sun. It is truthful and 
not a gross exaggeration to say that this is the most august, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 269 

compelling home that man has ever raised to his God two 
hundred and eighty feet long by one hundred fifty feet wide. 

Originally surrounded by fifty-four enormous columns, each 
consisting of three carefully carved cylinders, one placed upon 
another and carefully dowelled together with copper, only six 
remain today. In the Middle Ages Arabs blasted the bases to 
extract what copper they could. The stone giants stood shoul 
der to shoulder about the greatest of the Roman deities. They 
proclaimed the glory of the Roman Empire as far as eye could 
see them. This vast temple was Rome s emblem; only Rome 
could have built it. 

The temple was situated in no metropolis, it adorned no 
city, it -added no lustre to an imperial center, it stood not 
where the caravans of nations brought their wares. It was in 
a remote province, beside a remote spring, where armies en 
camped only briefly occasionally and where merchants seldom 
spent more than a night. It was off the beaten track of man 
just as it is today. Consequently it has been overlooked and 
often underestimated among, the ancient treasures of our 

" Only Rome had the power and the might and the self- 
assurance to build such a temple/ 3 says a writer. These ruins 
testify to an almost 5 superhuman task immensity of size 
blended with perfect proportion, the whole clothed in ele 
gance and splendor of carving and design. 

The first time I stood awed and enthralled amid these ruins. 
I shall again. Each time as I have stood on the Acropolis I 
have stopped to think on these things. This was the very last 
of the great pagan temples. The ages were moving along 
when this temple was completed. Babylon,. Egypt, Phoenicia, 
and Rome culminated in Baalbek. Here sacrifices were of 
fered to gods who could not hear, but the time was not far 
distant when humanity was coming to the realization that 
temples are in human hearts and not confined to stone. 

270 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 


I want to end on this note, something that I want you to 
remember to look for if you should ever visit this Acropolis 
which rivals Athens in its glory. There is a very lovely view 
from the quadrangle as you look through the ruins toward the 
west with the six columns of the peristyle of the Great Temple 
in the foreground. I promise you that this will be something 
to treasure in your heart long after your bargains in the 
bazaars of Damascus have been lost or forgotten. Look west 
ward through those stately sentinels toward the green plain 
to the snow-crowned summits of the Lebanons in the distance. 
A deep, deep blue sky, an indescribable transparency of the 
air, the brilliant orange tints of these ruins in the sunlight will 
combine with the gleaming snow in the distance beyond a 
feathery green to form a picture to be kept among the choic 
est treasures of memory. 


/ sail the Palestine Riviera between sunrise and sunset. 
Anchored off Jaffa (Joppa) I look over onto the Promised 
Land. I sail on to Tel Aviv, coast along to Caesarea where Paul 
lived two years; and come ashore at Haifa. Sunset from Mount 
Carmel with memories of David and Elijah. 

ONCE when I was returning to the Holy Land after an 
absence of two years, the desire to see the Palestine 
coast from the Mediterranean prompted me to vary the usual 
itinerary. Instead of landing at Alexandria and proceeding to 
Judea over the old land route or debarking at Jaffa s port and 
motoring up to Jerusalem, I planned to sail the Palestine 
Riviera between sunrise and sunset. I knew Palestine from 
any land approach because on an earlier visit I had spent 
days, even weeks, exploring it, but this would be my first op* 
portunity to see it from the " Great Sea " or the " Hinder 

Our steamer approached Jaffa on a May morning early 
enough to enjoy the most splendid sunrise. The evening be 
fore in the Captain s quarters that gentleman had recom 
mended it, saying, " Jaffa at sunrise is worth getting up for 
early! 33 

There were only two of us passengers up in time, myself 
and a Jew who was seeing the Promised Land for the first 
time. When we came out on deck nothing but grey sea was 
in sight. I stood beside him at the rail searching out a sight of 

The sky was still dark but clear. As we stood together 
watching for the first movements of dawn, we saw the sky 


272 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

gradually turn a light blue with long streaks of yellow and 
pink. Land was still far off, but I called his attention to two 
lines of hazy grey rising up, it seemed, out of the water 
which rippled in wavelets caught by the light which by now 
was climbing into the east. The first line was the sandy 
beach that edges the rich Plain of Sharon and the second was 
the wall of smoky grey which marks the central Judean ridge 
or the highlands of Palestine, outlined and illuminated now by 
the rising sun. It was exactly 5: 45 A. M. As we sailed 
nearer, these lines increased in size until the first turned to 
khaki sand from which a city standing on a bluff washed by 
the sea, a city built on rocks with its closely-built, white- 
walled houses coming down to the cliff edge, came into full 
view. Coming nearer still we could see the shipping in the 
harbor and above and behind Jaffa make out minarets and 
steeples in one of the world s oldest towns. 

For some distance south of Jaffa we saw sand and grass and 
then to the south as far as we could see, for miles and miles, 
were drifting sands pointing down to Gaza on the Philistine 
coast. To the north, almost like a continuation of Jaffa,. I 
pointed out to Him another city extraordinary among the cities 
of the world, a completely Jewish metropolis, Tel Aviv. 
Caravans of camels, which we picked out with field glasses, 
padded along its sandy beach or through shallow water carry 
ing in wooden panniers " Sif-Sif," seashore sand for building 
purposes. They added a splash of color to an almost colorless 
sand. They were the only sign of life at Tel Aviv at this early 
morning hour. 

I pointed back of the crowded streets of the seaport to the 
far-famed orange groves of Jaffa and the gently rolling Plain 
of Sharon where every spring still bloom the ce rose of Sharon 9 * 
(Narcissus tazetta) and the " lilies of the field " (Anemone 
coronaria), and blue iris, and daisies, filling the air with 
their fragrance. I tried to tell him of this transformed para- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 273 

disc of green and gold, as I had seen it, and as he would see 
it this very morning going by motor car up to the Holy City; 
of a land lush with trees, sweet with the scent of orange blos 
soms and narcissus, and golden with oranges, lemons, and 
grapefruits now Palestine s chief export; of trees standing in 
never-ending groves as far as eye can see; of how at picking 
time pretty Arab girls in fantastic-colored gowns flash 
in and out among the trees, but in Jewish-owned orchards 
Jewish maidens wear shorts. Off at the eastern horizon I 
pointed out the dim foothills of Judea, the Shephelah, the be 
ginning of that great little country which is so varied in its 
scenery, so strange in its language, so heterogeneous in its 
population, so contradictory in its religious and spiritual 
aspects. The sun now outlined and illuminated that persistent 
range of blue hills, a mountain wall holding Shechem, Shiloh, 
Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron in its bosom. But of 
these five cities only the sign of one appeared on the horizon 
this morning to locate it. Toward the north rise two bold, 
round hills to break the skyline. These are Ebal and Gerizim 
and between them in the valley I knew lies the ancient village 
of Shechem. 

How much of what I pointed out to my Jewish friend he 
saw, how much of what I said he heard, I do not know. My 
companion breathed deeply, sighed, and then was strangely 
silent as he gazed long over at the Promised Land from the 
deck of the ocean liner. His burning eyes epitomized for me 
all Israel s frustrated hopes since 586 B. c. for a land of peace 
for the Jews of the world. 

Our ship was by now riding at anchor in the harbor of 
Jaffa, the port for the Holy City, forty-one miles away. 
There is really not any harbor and large ocean-going vessels 
have to stand off the coast in the rock-strewn roadsteads. A 
breakwater has been built recently giving some protection to 
small vessels. Passengers bound for there have to go ashore 

274 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

in small boats called tenders which sometimes roll perilously 
as they thread their way carefully among the dangerous reefs 
of jagged, cruel rock. This bay at Jaffa is almost always 
rough; sometimes impossible for landing. I now had some 
idea of the port Joppa during the time when Jonah sought a 
ship to take him to Tarshish (Spain) on his flight " from the 
presence of the Lord/ He had no difficulty locating a ship 
at Joppa, but a storm arose making the harbor with its reef of 
rocks parallel to the shore an extremely hazardous place. I 
could understand the superstitious sailors act, who, becoming 
fearful, finally in desperation cast Jonah overboard during the 
storm to be swallowed by a " great fish." 

The small craft were already making their way out to 
where we lay surrounded in the open sea by warships like 
giant grey birds poised for flight. In one of the small boats 
drawing near to us, sculled by skilled Arab boatmen, I rec 
ognized a strange-looking, gangling figure clad in a checkered 
race-track suit with a red necktie and tarboosh, who was 
standing up searching out a face among the passengers now 
assembled at the rail. 

" Hello, hello ! How are you, Mustapha Houpta? " I 
called down over the side as I recognized this man I had met 
several years before in Jerusalem. 

" Miss Patterson? Letter, letter from your dragoman," he 
called back. He waved a square white envelope in the air for 
me to see. 

" Quais," I shouted. " I ve good news for you, too, Mus 
tapha Houpta, some passengers who want to go to the Holy 
City today!" 

My Jewish friend and I went below then to greet the peo 
ple from ashore coming aboard. Mustapha treated me as a 
special kind of friend and handed me my letter from my 
dragoman who was to meet me in Beirut the next morning. 
That read, Mustapha and I sat down to bargain a little on 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 275 

what these people must pay for a day s tour to Jerusalem, 
Bethlehem, and Haifa. 

"You will take them to the Temple Area, the Wailing 
Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to have a 
good lunch in Jerusalem? at a good hotel, mind you! You 
promise me to hustle them to Bethlehem before you start on 
the north road through Samaria to Haifa? " 

"Inshallah" (Please God), "I take good care of your 
friends," swore Mustapha. 

"All right . . . ten pounds altogether for a good motor 
car, guidance, fees for sight-seeing, and a very good lunch. 
I ll tell them." 

I went away and left him sitting in a corner of the recep 
tion room. I came through several times again and each 
time he rose hopefully from his secluded seat. 

" Are they ready? Is the price all right? " he d ask if I 
came near his corner. 

I thought it would be just as well to let Mustapha cool his 
heels for a time because I had learnt on previous excursions 
into the Near East a little of the art of bargaining* At last I 
brought forth my five tourists. In bidding them good-bye, 
again I reminded Mustapha of his bargain and them of what 
they might expect to see during a day s tour of the Holy Land. 
Since I was not going ashore, I waved them off as I saw them 
set out across a mile or so of blue water for the shore where 
goods, armies, peasants, tourists, and pilgrims have landed 
for hundreds of years. 


Seeing Jaffa from the boat brought memories of hours 
when I tarried there, having come down from the Holy City 
to visit it. Jerusalem to Jaffa makes an interesting little 
journey either by motor or train. I remembered from my 
last visit that besides the story of Jonah there are other au- 

276 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

thenticated facts which make Jaffa interesting and with these 
I occupied myself while the ship lay anchored in the harbor. 

At one time it was owned by the Phoenicians; previous to 
that by the Philistines, and earlier for almost one thousand 
years under Egyptian suzerainty. But only once in the history 
of Israel s occupation of the land did it belong to them and 
that was during the time of the Maccabees. 

Biblical references to Joppa would lead one to believe that 
once it was a thriving busy seaport, even though in the Old 
Testament there is no specific mention of an actual port of 
Joppa, only to " the sea of Joppa." Its exports were wheat, 
olive oil, balm from Gilead, Oriental wares, slaves, and out 
laws. Far exceeding its exports were its imports: beautiful 
fabrics such as cloth of scarlet and purple, gold, silver, iron, 
tin, lead, and brass. When Solomon built the Temple in 
Jerusalem the timber made from the " cedar trees out of 
Lebanon " used in its construction was landed here. The logs 
were dragged down the mountains by Hiram s workmen, 
thrown into the sea at Tyre or Sidon, made into rafts, and 
floated to Joppa, and carried up to Jerusalem by camels and 
men. Again, later during the lifetime of Ezra " cedar trees 
from Lebanon " were brought here via the sea. 

Peter visited Joppa and during his stay lodged with Simon 
the tanner. While on the roof of his house, waiting for his 
dinner, the Apostle had a remarkable vision which was to ex 
ercise a mighty influence upon his own preaching and upon 
Christian missions, 

The location of Simon s house has been changed from time 
to time by the authorities who moved it the last time nearer 
to the Customs House so that it would be more accessible to 
tourists. The present house is a rocky structure with stone 
steps outside which lead to a roof and second story. When I 
climbed to the roof-top, I had had about the same view as 
Peter. In front of me was the blue Mediterranean stretching 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 277 

west. North I saw the curving shore of sand and green slopes 
reaching toward lovely Athlit and Mount CarmeL On some 
such roof as this one Peter had that wonderful dream in which 
he beheld all the beasts of the earth let down from heaven that 
he might eat them. He refused, saying, " I have never eaten 
of anything that is common or unclearu" And then came a 
voice, " What God hath cleansed, that call not thou com 

These words led to preaching the gospel to the Gentiles as 
well as to the Jews, bringing about the conversion of Cornelius 
whom Peter travelled twenty-three miles up the coast to 
Caesarea to visit, and later to preaching the " good news " to 
all the world. 

Within a few miles of Joppa, on a hill overlooking the sea, 
and the city, lived Dorcas, the organizer of the first Women s 
Missionary Society. She was famed for the garments she 
made for the poor and at her funeral the people gathered 
round to show specimens of her handiwork. The Apostle was 
sojourning near-by at Lydda and, hurrying over from there, 
Peter raised her from the dead. 

One of the main caravan roads in Bible days between Egypt 
and Phoenicia came through Joppa where the regular Egyp 
tian highway entered Palestine. It ran through the Plain of 
Sharon to Gaesarea and continuing north rounded the eastern 
end of CarmeL Then it followed the Bay of Acre, went on 
past Tyre and Sidon, and ended at Beirut. It was and still is 
one hundred and sixty miles of seaboard loveliness. 

This route is never silent, for phantom figures pass in end 
less procession. A caravan from long before Abraham s time 
comes down slowly from CarmeL The hosts of Thotmes III 
march from Joppa carrying Egypt s dominance as far east as 
the Euphrates. The Assyrians, Sargon, Sennacherib, and 
Tiglath-Pileser (Pul), pass this way. There is an almost end 
less caravan of merchant princes, couriers between empires, 

278 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

fugitives, and slaves. While even now modern motor cars 
swing out of Jaffa into Tel Aviv and north along a compara 
tively good road lined by one after another of well-cultivated, 
well-cared-for Jewish colonies. This wide road along the 
coast to Haifa, was in constant use by trucks and busses dur 
ing the war. The road runs along pleasantly through fruit 
orchards which laden the spring air with an intoxicating, 
sweet fragrance. Swarms of bees know the preciousness of 
the nectar of orange blossoms and convert it into the famous 
" Orange Blossom Honey " which is on every table catering to 
visitors in the Holy Land. 

For miles and miles along the wider part of the Plain of 
Sharon fruit orchards include apple and peach trees. There 
are extensive vineyards around one of the oldest Jewish settle 
ments. The country gradually becomes more rugged as the 
plain narrows and the mountains edge their way to the sea. 
Beyond Caesarea, Tantura, Athlit which was a Crusader 
stronghold, to the rocky base of Garmel are melon patches, 
fields of grain, gardens of tomatoes and beans, and some shade 
trees. All the while the motorist has glimpses beyond orange- 
tinted sand of the deep blue Mediterranean, of the sea lashing 
itself to foam in many places along this inhospitable coast-line, 
of white-flecked waves. 


Later that morning we sailed from Jaffa and stopped for an 
hour at Tel Aviv, the Jewish port, before sailing north. 

It was a hot day; the air was very quiet. It was a good 
day to stretch out comfortably in a deck chair and enjoy a 
panorama of loveliness, of fruitfulness and peace, as for hours 
it slowly spread itself out before me. From my chair I could 
see right over onto the land of Palestine. 

There was no break in the long line of foam where land 
and sea met; all along this coast was disturbance where blue 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 279 

sea met a fine gold fringe of sand. Back of the golden band 
I could see the Maritime Plain varying in width from eight to 
thirty miles. It was a chocolate brown land clothed with grass 
and orchards and millions of flowers, broken by gullies that 
led up to high cliffs. The whole was flanked by majestic 
mountains, the Lebanons, the wooded Carmel range, and the 
barer Judean ridge. 

We sailed past the remains of Caesarea where Herod built 
such a magnificent Roman city and constructed a very won 
derful artificial harbor by building a huge mole, a vast cres 
cent of stupendous stones. He transformed a wretched coast 
village into a splendid city which became the headquarters of 
the Roman Government in Palestine. The only visible fea 
ture of present-day Caesarea is the medieval Citadel which 
stands upon the base of the broad natural reef south of the 
harbor; here I watched the sea break into foam against the 
According to New Testament narrative, Paul visited this 
bit of Gentile soil when he came by ship to Syria from 
Ephesus. When he was removed from Jerusalem after his ar 
rest, he languished in a dungeon at Caesarea for two years. 
It must have been a weary time of waiting even though Philip 
and his friends here could visit him, and Timothy and Luke 
and others came to stay near him. 

What did he do during all that time? Since we have no 
record of letters written by him to friends and churches dur 
ing those two years, maybe he reminisced to Luke who was 
keeping a diary of his travels \yith Paul, some day to be com 
pleted as the Acts of the Apostles. 

While sketching Paul s contacts with Felix, Festus, and 
Herod Agrippa II, Luke gives four glimpses of Paul during 
the time that he was in prison. 

Five days after his arrival he was brought into the court 
room of the Castle before Felix on the judgment seat. Ana- 

280 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

nias the High Priest was among Paul s accusers, the Pharisees 
and Sadducees. With them was Tertullus, a Jewish lawyer 
and orator, who was to conduct the prosecution of the Apostle. 
Tertullus opened the case with a eulogy of the judge and 
then proceeded to prove that Paul stirred up factions among 
all Jews throughout the world and had tried to profane the 
Temple. Whatever Paul might have to say for himself, there 
had been riots in many places where he had been and the 
Roman Government did not like riots any time or any place. 

But Felix wanted to hear what Paul had to say. The 
prisoner arose and gaining the attention of the court replied 
with a statement of his innocence and of his beliefs: in 
" everything that is taught in the Law or written in the 
prophets, and the same hope in God that they themselves 
hold, that there is to be a resurrection of the upright and the 

Felix decided to defer his decision; he had a legal right to 
do this. It was the easiest way to act. Or was it that he felt 
the honesty of this man standing before him pleading his case? 
At any rate, Felix ordered " the officer to keep Paul in cus 
tody, but to allow him some freedom, and not to prevent his 
friends from visiting him," So Paul went back to his dungeon 
in the prison. 

Seeking distraction during a dull evening, hoping also that 
Paul might give him a little money to release him, Paul was 
again summoned before Felix and his young and beautiful 
bride Drusilla, a Jewess. Felix asked him to tell concerning 
the faith of Jesus Christ for which Paul was in prison. Cer 
tainly not curiosity about this new " Way 3 * prompted the re 
quest because the Governor was already informed on this 
religion and Drusilla must have heard already about Jesus of 
Nazareth because she was a daughter of King Herod, who 
persecuted the Church and killed James. Her morals were no 
worse than her contemporaries 3 at Court* She was now at 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 281 

Caesarea because Felix had seduced her from her husband 
and married her. Neither was a respectable person from 
Paul s point of view; perhaps that accounts for his remarks 
that evening to these two. 

Before his audience, Paul reasoned for uprightness, 
self-control, and the coming judgment. What Drusilla felt 
we do not know. But stirrings of conscience bothered Felix, 
told him of bitter things he would rather forget lust, greed, 
treachery, blood, murdered men, and dishonored women in 
his past life things he would be called upon to answer for on 
the Judgment Day if what Paul said were true. Not yet ready 
to repent, Felix shouted : " You may go I will find time later 
to send for you ! " 

Some other day ! A more convenient time ! How many like 
Felix wait for another day to be upright, to practise self- 
control and to seek God, put off the Day of the Lord. A few 
months later, Felix went in disgrace to Rome, and years later 
Drusilla and her son by Felix perished in the eruption of Vesu 

When Festus arrived in Palestine from Rome and visited 
Jerusalem, the local authorities vigorously demanded that 
Paul should be brought back to Jerusalem. They intended to 
seize Paul and kill him along the way. Palestine is eminently 
suited for an ambush. Festus suggested that reliable persons 
should come to Caesarea and make any charges which they 
had against Paul. And so after two years of waiting Paul 
came up for trial again before this new governor Festus in the 
Judgment Hall of the Castle. 

The Jews came, but the proceedings were inconclusive. 
Festus asked Paul whether he was willing to be tried in Jeru 
salem. Paul refused. Although the trial would be before the 
Governor, Jerusalem involved danger and an atmosphere of 
prejudice. Grown weary of delays, despairing of justice by 
Festus who might be tempted to sacrifice him to Jewish senti- 

282 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

rnent in the interests of self and peace, Paul accordingly ap 
pealed to Caesar. He demanded as his rights, the proud priv 
ilege of every Roman citizen, that his case should be heard by 
the Emperor s own tribunal. At Rome he would have a 
chance at a fair trial; in Jerusalem the risk of assassination 
would be too great; and, in any case, we know he eagerly de 
sired to go to Rome. 

So the great case was ended for the present; his appeal 
to Caesar had deprived Festus of competence to hear the case* 
The Jews returned to Jerusalem out-manoeuvred. I wonder 
if Paul spent much time in the following days thinking just 
how differently from what he had planned was to be his wit 
ness for the Lord in Rome? 

While waiting for his removal to Rome, Paul was again 
summoned to the Castle. Herod Agrippa II, who had some 
personal authority in connection with the Temple, came with 
his sister Berenice to pay his respects to the Governor. Festus 
spoke of Paul to Agrippa, who was not disinterested in this 
prisoner. Agrippa was a Jew, the last of the Herods, and the 
destiny o his house had been indissolubly linked with this 
Jesus whom Paul preached. His great-grandfather Herod the 
Great had slaughtered the children at Bethlehem in an effort 
to destroy the newly-born " King of the Jews " ; his uncle 
Herod Antipas was the man who sent John the Baptist to 
death and Jesus to Pilate; his father Herod Agrippa I slew 
James, one of the Twelve, and persecuted the Church in Jeru 
salem. Festus in permitting Agrippa to hear Paul hoped to 
learn from him a little more of what was at stake in order that 
he might give a fuller account to the Emperor. 

Courteously, Paul addressed the King, simply recited the 
facts of his life, solemnly narrated his oft-told story of his con 
version and the transforming power of the Christ in his per 
sonal life, and fervently declared his mission. 

In the midst of his impassioned, eloquent speech of defense. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 283 

Festus, impatient of the foolish talk about a crucified Jew 
risen from the dead, interrupted, "You are raving, Paul! 
Your great learning is driving you mad! " 

" I am not raving, your Excellency Festus," said Paul. ce I 
am telling the sober truth. The king knows about this, and I 
can speak to him with freedom. I do not believe that he 
missed any of this, for it did not happen in a corner ! King 
Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do ! " 

" You are in a hurry to persuade me and make a Christian 
of me ! " Agrippa said to Paul. 

As a follower of Jesus Christ, Paul had come to know hap 
piness, peace, and hope in his own life. In all sincerity and 
from the depths of a loving heart, he made this touching 
reply: " In a hurry or not, I would to God that not only you, 
but all who hear me today, might be what I am except for 
these chains/ 3 

After that reply one understands how these men, Festus 
and Agrippa, felt as they left the room; and why Agrippa, 
profoundly moved, said, " He might have been set at liberty 
if he had not appealed to the Emperor." 

So Paul went back to his prison to prepare for his voyage to 
Rome; and Festus went back to his desk to prepare his report 
for the Emperor, the favorable tenor of which must have had 
a very great deal to do with Paul s acquittal in his first trial 
before Nero. 

The hot afternoon sun beat down upon Caesarea, silent 
now except for the boom of the Mediterranean pounding 
against her ancient pillars and remains of sea wall, deserted 
except for a few monks living at the Greek monastery and a 
tiny community of swarthy natives living here in flat-roofed 
dwellings. Sailing by this once-noble city, planned and 
built by Herod the Great, and occupied many hundreds of 
years later by the Crusaders, I opened my copy of The New 
Testament., An American Translation, by Dr. Edgar Good- 

284 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

speed and fell to reading from chapters twenty-four to twenty- 
six in the Book of the Acts of those far-off days when Caesa- 
rea, which extended along the Mediterranean for more than a 
mile, stood in all her pagan glory upon that now desolate 


Following along the coast, I drank deep of the loveliness of 
the Palestine Riviera in spring. All at once I was attracted 
by the headland of Carmel, green and beautiful, jutting out 
into the sea, with a clump of buildings at its top a rectangle, 
a dome, a tower, and a cross. Suddenly we rounded the 
promontory, and as the ship came in toward Haifa, I got a 
view of a picturesque, busy harbor and of a city of square 
white balconied buildings with red-tile roofs hemmed in on 
the south by Carmel but rising undaunted on that steep, green 
mountainside and gleaming in the glow of the sun in the west 
ern sky. Haifa has blue water and yellow sand on her door 
step and behind her at her back door is this splendid, long- 
backed hill stretching to the southeast for twelve miles the 
hill that always has been called Mount CarmeL 

The vessel tied up within the long breakwater that sheltered 
other large steamers loading- and unloading cargoes. At the 
bottom of the gangplank was the new concrete dock, piled 
high with boxes, crates, and barrels^ and ashuffle with men, 
some in red tarbooshes* Tourist contractors, local guides, and 
chauffeurs, and a few ragged porters, the usual complement, 
were there to greet the cruise-ship. These were the ridicu 
lously small figures I had seen watching us from shore as we 
made our way into port. 

After seeing the new activity along the Palestine coast at 
the ports of Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and now at Haifa, I realized 
Isaiah s prophecy was being fulfilled at last: " Thy gates also 
shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 285 
night; that men may bring unto thee the wealth of the 


For a few minutes hustle and activity prevailed as baggage 
was unloaded. Then formalities over, a pass from port au 
thorities to spend a few hours ashore during the ship s call 
tucked away in my handbag, I set out to explore the city of 
white buildings, the homes of Moslems, Catholics, and Jews, 
which lay beyond the dock. 

Haifa is neither Christian nor Moslem. It is thoroughly 
Jewish. Everything is Jewish: factories for cement, olive oil, 
and soap, even the flour mills. The business district of shops, 
office buildings, and hotels is all modern and Jewish. And 
up the hill slope are more Jewish living quarters with cool 
comfortable houses and apartments, good schools, homes for 
orphans and aged, and an amphitheatre for concerts. 

This thriving, boom town held no more fascination for me 
and evoked no more memories than it had some two years 
earlier when I visited it. But the mountain which has always 
been called Carmel, standing like a piece of old-time, and the 
ghosts of biblical men who have made the place immortal and 
haunt her slopes once again strongly drew me. 


" The excellency of Carmel " was used by Solomon as a fig 
ure for beauty and Isaiah used the same phrase to indicate the 
lavish blessings and gifts of the Lord. The Psalmist must 
have had Carmel in mind when he sang, " Thou waterest the 
ridges thereof . . . thou makest it soft with showers." It is 
the first of Palestine s hills to get moisture and rain, which ac 
counts for its year-round verdure. 

The mountain is richly wooded with dwarf oaks, pines, 
carobs, pomegranates, some olive and fruit trees, thickets of 
acacia, scented myrtles, and almond trees which are visions of 
pink glory in February, and bright with blossoming shrubs* 

2 86 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Sage, rosemary, lavender, wild thyme, and a profusion of 
other fragrant herbs perfume the air. Wild flowers cover it 
like a carpet. Among the many varieties are scarlet, blue, 
and white anemones, purple cyclamen, hyacinths, daisies, blue 
and scarlet pimpernel, purple bougainvillea. While rambler 
roses and honeysuckle fling themselves along walls and over 
trellises and pour forth their sweetness into a scent-laden world. 
Its lovely groves are bird-haunted. The silvery cadences of 
larks, twittering of sparrows, and cooing of doves join with 
hosts of other birds in filling the air with song. For hundreds 
of years it has been considered as a sacred place, as "the 
mount of God," possibly because of the favorableness of its 
situation, its luxuriant vegetation, its abundant fertility. 

For ^centuries its caves and thick undergrowth have hidden 
hunted men like Elijah and Elisha, acted as places of retreat 
for holy men, prophets, and philosophers. Christian hermits 
at one time occupied natural caverns on its western side. 
From these hermits of Mount Garmel sprang the monastic 
order of the Carmelites in 1 156 A. D., which was confirmed by 
Pope Honorius III in 1224. Under the protection of the Cru 
saders, a monastery was built on the northwest summit, but its 
history has been one of attack, plunder, and massacre. With 
undaunted courage the Carmelite order have reoccupied the 
site when permitted and rebuilt the monastery. The present 
buildings date from 1882. The roof of one is surmounted by 
a lighthouse which attracts attention from land or sea. Sail 
ors watch for the signal from the Stella Maris (Star of the 
Sea) lighthouse as earlier in history men watched for Athena 
Nike or as today they watch for Notre Dame at Marseilles, 

All the way up the steep motor road I had views of the 
Mediterranean to my right, then to my left, then straight 
ahead of me. Halfway up we passed the new Jewish settle 
ment surrounded by masses of rich green and calling itself 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 287 

"The Beauty of Canne!" (Hadar Hacarmel). But I kept 
watching for a group of grey, angular buildings standing out 
against the sky, for the most beautifully situated monastery in 
the Holy Land, which is perched high above the Bay of Haifa 
on the summit of Carmel. 

On the way up, I was trying to remember what had hap 
pened here. David once came up this same bill with robbery 
and murder in his heart. He had fled here from the wrath 
of his father-in-law, King Saul. He met the servants of the 
shepherd Nabal, who took his request "for provisions to their 
master. Nabal refused it. Later he met shrewd, practical, 
and beautiful Abigail when she saw to it that David s anger at 
Nabal s churlishness was appeased with a gift brought by her 
self of two hundred loaves, bottles of wine, five sheep, flour, 
raisins, and figs. Upon NabaFs sudden demise some ten days 
after his wife had apprised him of the delicacy of the situa 
tion in which he had precipitated himself and his fortunes, 
David married Abigail. 

The miracle of Elijah in which Jehovah consumed the 
sacrifice upon the altar and thereby vindicated the omnipo 
tence of Israel s God before four hundred and fifty prophets 
of Baal in the presence of King Ahab, the children of Israel, 
and four hundred prophets of the groves, has invested this 
mount with interest for Jew, Christian, and Moslem. On the 
summit stood the altar of Jehovah which Jezebel had cast 
down. From morning till noon, and from noon till the time 
of the evening sacrifice, the cries of " O Baal, hear us," rang 
out and echoed in vain. When the sun was sinking in the 
west, Elijah s sacrifice was consumed by fire from heaven. 
The last act of the tragedy occurred not on Garmel but on 
the plain below when Elijah brought the defeated prophets 
down the steep hillside to the torrent of the River Kishon and 
slew them there. 

Elijah returned to the " high place " on the mountain, but 

288 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

he ordered his servant to go up still higher and look out 
toward the sea. He went up to the top and looked over the 
Mediterranean, but he saw no cloud. Elijah said, " Go 
again/ seven times. After the seventh time his servant re 
turned and said, " Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of 
the sea, like a man s hand." 

To this day it is a sure sign of coming rain. And soon the 
heavens were " black with clouds and wind, and there was a 
great rain." King Ahab rode across the Plain of Esdraelon 
straight to Jezreel; and Elijah "girded up his loins, and ran 
before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel." 

According to the Bible Elisha dwelt on Carmel in a cave. 
I remembered that the Prophet was here when the Shunam- 
mite woman came to summon him and tell him of the death 
of her son from sunstroke. He left his retreat to return with 
her and his servant to Shunem where he raised the woman s 
boy from the dead. 

The car drew up in the yard before the Convent of Elijah 
and its adjacent guest-house for travellers. I walked past the 
priests gardens filled with passion flowers and into the ornate 
church dedicated to Beatissima Virgo Maria. Ascending one 
flight of stairs and looking directly toward the high altar, I 
saw an enthroned figure of the Virgin and the Child with two 
angels at the base. Overdressed and perhaps gaudy is this 
statue but the Virgin s look is so gentle and the Child on her 
knee is so sweet and appealing that the longer I looked, the 
less was I aware of those elements. I visited the monks li 
brary, the refectory, and the grotto beneath the high altar 
where, tradition claims, Elijah lived. Lamps light the dank 
cave and illuminate an interesting wood-carving of the 
Prophet. Here by celibacy, masses, and vowed to silence, the 
Carmelites with white mantles over brown habits tend the 
miracle-working statue of Mary and the Babe and do honor 
to the prophet Elias. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 289 

I came out into the monastery grounds as the sun was set 
ting. I wandered over to the terrace. Stretching before me 
on all sides was another Holy Land panorama of unforget 
table loveliness. On the whole vault of the sunset-kissed sky 
there was not a cloud the size of a man s hand. I looked over 
the broad expanse of water to the west, turning now from a 
lovely blue slowly into a burnished bronze. I saw a variety of 
ships congregated there; my own vessel which was to bear me 
away that night to Beirut was among them. The old and new 
town of Haifa with docks, warehouses, Jewish shops, modern 
residences, and business houses belonging to Jews and also the 
crooked streets and flat-roofed hovels of the Arab workers 5 
quarters was at my feet. Smoke curled from some of the 
chimneys. The street lamps began to wink on, one by one. 
The convent is so high that the strident cries of Haifa never 
invade its solitude. Only the echoes of church bells drift this 

From the northwest crest, I could see the whole stretch of 
the Syrian and Palestine coasts from the shores of Sidon and 
the lighthouse of Tyre down past the ruins of Athlit, today a 
mute reminder of the days of chivalry, to Caesarea. Across 
the bay, I saw a colony of silver turrets in the midst of palm 
trees. Oil storage tanks. Near there the pipe line of the Iraq 
Petroleum Company brings its flow of liquid gold across 
six hundred and eighteen miles of desert and valley from 
Mesopotamia and feeds a fleet of tankers crowding the har 
bor. StiR farther along, beyond the bay, north to where the 
smooth golden sand with its fringe of palm trees pointing 
toward the sea sweeps in a dazzling arc was Acre. Straight 
in front of me loomed the snow-capped head of Hermon 
bathed in the sunset light. Back of Acre s violet-shadowed 
beach I saw where the Kishon winds through orchards and 
wheat fields a green cloud darkened now into sombre hues; 
turning to the other side and looking farther inland toward 

290 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Esdraelon, mounts Gilboa and Little Hermon. The dusk had 
filled these hallowed hills with blue. Shadows lay now upon 
fields. There was dew upon grass and flower. The soft winds 
from the sea blew cool and sweet with odors of orange blos 
soms and honeysuckle over the headland of Carmel, green 
the year round with carobs, oaks, and pine trees. God, it 
seemed, had laid a sweet calm for this brief hour over Carmel, 
over the stage upon which Elijah once played an immortal 

In the swiftly coming night, I stood thinking. " The 
heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth 
his handiwork/ The Psalmist had seen the sky as I was see 
ing it now. 

The sun dropped down a burning ball behind the Mediter 
ranean. Out from under the western horizon I saw the sun 
send up one last shaft of fire, setting the heavens ablaze with 
splendor and then fading, leave at last a luminous sky where a 
moon would soon appear. And the glorious dome that roofs 
all Palestine gradually became studded with lights. 

Day had moved on, I was ready now to go down from 
Mount Carmel. Down and around we rolled as the road 
curved abruptly into the town. Once I looked back through 
the car s rear window at the solitary light keeping vigil on the 
terrace near the friars gardens; ahead I saw many lights 
Haifa. The color of the buildings glowed through the dark 
ness. Along the streets and the flowered, tree-lined paths we 
passed a few people hurrying home to family gatherings. 
Someone laughed in the night. A late truck lumbered by on 
the macadam road laden with boxes. We came onto the 
water-front. I saw the big ship which had brought me in 
today blazing with lights. Long before I reached the gang 
plank I met smartly-attired passengers and heard their excited 
chatter. They were still milling everywhere about the dock. 

Although not long until sailing hour, cargo from a dock 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 291 

piled up with a clutter of boxes, crates, and barrels was being 
swung into open hatches or carried into the hold on the backs 
of shabby Arab longshoremen. A few officers in uniform pa 
trolled the terminal. 

As I came up the gangplank, I noticed that behind our ves 
sel at the dock lay a troop transport. French Colonials bound 
for Syria. Later as I sat huddled in a deck chair sharing a 
bag of juicy, ripe loquats and experiences with a friend who 
had spent the day seeing the Holy Land with Mustapha 
Houpta, I heard a bugle then, long blasts of a whistle from 
a ship impatient to be off. The Algerian band struck up stir 
ring martial music, and out from the pier glided a large grey 
ship. The next time I heard that crack military band I was 
at a tea-party in Damascus 3 Public Garden where the mem 
bers of the Parliament of Syria were entertaining the Parlia 
ment of Lebanon, 

It was close to midnight when our ship s winches ceased 
their creaking and screeching. Three long, shrill blasts from 
the S. S. Excambion s whistle brought us passengers to the 
rail. I watched the gangplank poised in mid-air. I heard 
voices on the bridge. Then we slowly slid out of Haifa Bay in 
the wake of the troop ship toward Beirut. 

Out at sea the stars so wonderful that night ended suddenly 
against blackness. A huge silver moon had risen above the 
Mediterranean. I watched out for the lighthouse in the mon 
astery grounds on Mount Carmel, useful now to an ever- 
increasing line of ships that seek Haifa s new harbor. Again 
and again I saw it sweep across the sea with its beam. I 
thought, as I left the deck to go to bed early to be ready for 
debarking next morning, Stella Maris, which is to say, Star of 
the Sea, is indeed the right name for that saintly haven. 


/ approach Beirut from overland and by sea and find the city 
equally fascinating. I set out north along the coast road for Dog 
River to inspect the inscriptions carved on the face of the cliff by 
conquerors who, at one time or another, have fought their way 
through this historic pass, beginning with Raamses II to General 
Giraud of France. I follow the Phoenician coast south to Tyre 
and Sidon. 

IN looking back over my two arrivals in Beirut, it is a ques 
tion which was the more exciting. The year I followed the 
Palestine Riviera, I sailed into the well-protected Bay of St. 
George, round which rises the lovely white city of Beirut, early 
in the morning when brilliant sunshine lights up the whole 
sea front. When I saw it the first time, I arrived in the capital 
of the Lebanese Republic in the late afternoon after a thrill 
ing seventy mile drive up and down the Anti-Lebanon and 
the Lebanon mountains along the macadam French mili 
tary road from Damascus. Both offer remarkable vistas of 

By either approach, I was struck by the rare contrast of 
sun and snow here. By sea the sun highlights the snow- 
covered ridge of the Lebanon range which changes into lovely 
shades of deep rose, purple, and brown as it slopes down to 
the city of white houses, blue shutters, red-tile roofs, green 
gardens, splashes of purple bougainvillea y and a deep blue 
bay. Overland, mounting from the Plain of the Beka a with 
its kaleidoscope of greens, golds, and purples to the slopes of 
the cool Lebanons, I had brief views of glistening snow patches 
spot-lighted by the brilliant sun, and, mounting higher to the 
summit, I crossed snowfields still spread out blinding white 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 293 

in April sunshine. My eyes grew tired of the dazzling spec 

From the sea I looked upon a bustling scene because Beirut 
is the largest, busiest port of the Syrian coast. A babel of 
tongues fell upon my ears. Many small craft with fantasti 
cally dressed occupants danced upon the waves, surrounding 
our vessel which was anchored out in the bay where legend 
says St. George slew the dragon. Scores of jabbering porters 
wearing the red fez and baggy Turkish trousers scampered 
up and down the swaying, swinging ladder in search of busi 
ness. They shouted their deep gutturals in my ears as if excess 
of sound would render their tongues more intelligible. Over 
my head cranes swung out, over, and dropped cargo and 
trunks into the unsteady, untrustworthy small boats swarming 
in the water. Sounds of building drifted out to me from the 

But on the other hand, going to Beirut, leaving behind the 
minarets and far-famed gardens of Damascus and following 
the river road which offers peculiarly beautiful views, I saw 
the foaming Barada rushing through a stony channel, leap 
ing over rocks to become a snow-white sheet of water, and 
then being hidden again by the luxuriant growth of shrub 
bery. With turns in the road sometimes I saw a shadow of a 
bridge, or overhanging trees and crowding bushes at the wa 
ter s edge and near-by Moslems in coffee houses who sat with 
nargilehs smoking and dreaming to the murmur of water and 
birds singing in rich foliage. I looked ahead toward the ridge 
of the Anti-Lebanons. And that conquered, I saw and 
climbed the pink Lebanons sparkling with patches of snow, 
and searched out on the slopes some lonely, solemn cedars. 
They are the dignified last survivors of the trees which fur 
nished " cedar trees without number " to David for his pal 
ace and the same which Hiram of Tyre sent from Lebanon by 
way of Mediterranean Joppa to Jerusalem to become pillars, 

294 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

roofs, and doors in the great Temple of Solomon. For three 
thousand years the groves of Lebanon have been despoiled 
until the upper ranges are quite denuded. Finally from the 
military road, I had a panorama of the outstretched capital 
city of Beirut with the sea pounding in against the eastern 

Beirut appears a large town. Like most Eastern cities it is a 
mixture of camels and cars, Syrians, Turks, and Armenians, 
veiled women, and Europeans, Cook s and American Express 
travel offices, excellent modernistic hotels like Hotel St. 
George, and movie houses. Despite " suks " and minarets 

much of its life and traffic today are European due largely to 
its having been a French colonial center. 

If" Paul went by sea all the way to Tarsus, then he passed 
in sight of Beirut and saw it rising from the water s edge to 
the ridge of the cape as I have when I followed the Riviera. 
If he went by land in following the coast road, he passed 
through Beirut as I did when on my way north from here to 
Dog River. 


Beirut is the ancient Berytus of the Greeks and Romans. It 
may even be older than that and have been founded by the 
Phoenicians. The first historical mention is by Strabo in 140 
B, a when it was destroyed. The Romans rebuilt it and 
colonized it afterwards. The elder Agrippa favored it and 
adorned it with splendid theatres and an amphitheatre where 
games and spectacles of every kind including gladiatorial 
shows could be enjoyed. In the middle of the third century a 
celebrated Roman law school was founded here. And from 
then until it was destroyed by earthquake in 551 A. D., it was a 
seat of learning. 

Once again Beirut is important in education. It has many 
fine schools with Christian aims. Conspicuous is the Ameri- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 295 

can University which draws the youth from forty-five coun 
tries. Her graduates are important factors in the new life in 
the Near East. This one school has a student body of fifteen 
hundred, a faculty of two hundred and eighty teachers, and 
an endowment of almost five million dollars. Eastern govern 
ments like Iraq, Sudan, Trans- Jordan send at their own ex 
pense students to the Departments of Health, Education, 
Science, and Arts to train for public service. A renaissance 
has been sweeping over the Near East since World War I. 


Early one morning I set out in an automobile from Beirut 
for Dog River. We followed the windings of the bay north 
ward, along what was once the Phoenician coast, up along a 
highway that is one of the oldest in the world. The beautiful 
macadam road was lined with eucalyptus trees which gave 
coolness and shade. It was a lovely ride past substantial stone 
houses and green gardens, through miles and miles of wide 
belts of banana trees, tobacco and sugar-cane plantations, fig, 
olive, orange, apricot, and mulberry orchards* The abun 
dance of the latter made me realize that Lebanon is one vast 
mulberry orchard. Remarking upon it, I was told that raw 
silk used to be one of her chief exports. I saw many two- 
wheeled carts, many herds of cows, baggy Syrian trousers, the 
fez, and veiled Moslem women in black. Before we left 
Beirut, we stopped in the " Suk * and bought fresh strawber 
ries, ripe cherries, and some oranges. Never have I eaten 
sweeter, more delicious berries than those grown in Lebanon. 
After ten miles of driving we reached Dog River, Nahr el 
Kelb, or Licus Flumen as it was called by the Romans. 

Why it is called Dog River puzzles many a visitor who 
comes here. One picturesque story has it that during the age 
of fables a monster wolf or dog which was chained by a 
demon at the river mouth could be heard barking and sav- 

296 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

agely growling from here as far off as Cyprus when whipped 
into a fury by violent storms that swept the coast. 

Before climbing the road up the gorge to see the carved in 
scriptions, the calling cards left by conquerors using this pass 
from Raamses II to General Giraud of France in 1920, 1 
stopped to watch a pastoral scene. Anyone who approaches 
pastoral scenes in Palestine or Syria with imagination and fa 
miliarity with the Bible can easily see enacted verses from 

A shepherd this day had brought his flock to rest under the 
large bridge connecting both sides of the gorge. Fertile Leba 
non is the Land of the Shepherds and raising sheep here is 
profitable. In winter they graze farther up among the hills; 
during spring and summer the sheep graze close to the sea. 
We had met this morning many groups of shepherds leading 
flocks. But here the sheep lay quietly in the shade under the 
bridge on what very early in the year is part of the river bed; 
not three feet away Dog River flowed swiftly into the sea. 
Near-by stood the shepherd and his dog roamed on the fringes 
of the flock. For the first time I understood the full meaning 
of the Psalmist when he cried: 

" I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, 
only makest me dwell In safety." PSALM 4: 8. 

Dog River enters the Mediterranean between rugged, steep, 
and lofty precipices; the scenery is romantic and impressive. 
The mountains extend out to the sea so that north of this 
point is only a narrow rocky passage along the shore. 

I began the short, stiff climb up the road of the gorge 
through a pass which has been used from time immemorial 
by the aggressors from East and West as the in-gate and out- 
gate to and from Damascus. It is paved with treacherous, 
jagged rocks that kept turning under my feet. I felt as if I 
were treading in the steps of all those conquerors who have at 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 297 

one time or another fought their way along -this military 

I came to a remarkable series of conquerors* inscriptions 
cut into the solid rock of the cliff. I counted some twelve or 
more rock-cut inscriptions and figures on tablets on the cliff 
face but some say there are altogether twenty of them. As I 
remember them from climbing up the ancient road, beginning 
at the bridge, they follow one another in this order. There 
is a French inscription to the expedition of 1860 under Na 
poleon III, which is imposed on an Egyptian cartouche dedi 
cated to the god Ptah. Then comes a British inscription 
relating to Lord Allenby s conquest in 1918. Next is an As 
syrian one with the figure of a king .with his right hand raised. 
It is followed by two more tablets, one the defaced figure per 
haps of Shalmaneser III, who invaded the West four times 
and campaigned against Egypt, and the other figure is an 
unidentified Assyrian. Further along are a Latin and a Greek 

Higher still is a defaced figure of Tiglath-Pileser (Pul) who 
once swept over Syria, northern Israel, Edom, and Moab in a 
deluge of death and reduced Judah and Jerusalem to vas 
salage. One has only to read First Chronicles, Second Kings, 
and the Book of Isaiah to realize how great a menace the As 
syrians were to the Hebrews. But, in addition to biblical ac 
counts, Tiglath-Pileser himself left some interesting, vigorous, 
full descriptions of his destruction of Damascus. There is an 
Egyptian frieze of Raamses II sacrificing to Ra, the Sun-god. 
Beyond is a figure of Sennacherib, the " Wolf on the Fold," 
who was forced to return to Nineveh either because of plague 
or rebellion, leaving Jerusalem unharmed in 701 B. c. at the 
time that the prophet Isaiah was comforting his terror-stricken 
people and when Hezekiah s conduit was completed. 

This same tablet has a low relief of Esarhaddon with some 
clear-cut cuneiform writing across the body. He is the mon- 

298 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

arch who succeeded Sennacherib in Assyria. He is men 
tioned but twice in the Old Testament. Esarhaddon con 
quered Sidon and, remembering that, it recalled Isaiah s la 
ment over Tyre and Sidon in Isaiah, Chapter 23. This 
same man succeeded in an enterprise which had baffled both 
Sargon and Sennacherib when he led his army into Egypt and 
reduced that country to an Assyrian province. It is likely 
that he used this pass then* 

Next is a figure of Raamses II and this time in adoration 
of Ammon, the god of Thebes. He is the Pharaoh who many 
scholars, accepting the late date for the Exodus, agree was 
the Pharaoh of the Oppression. Near this there is another 
Assyrian inscription referring to the exploits of Esarhaddon, 
who is represented on the rock. An Arabic inscription near 
the bridge refers to Selim, the Ottoman Sultan, who con 
quered Syria early in the sixteenth century. 

Dog River is a marvelous place to take time to remember 
the monarchs who walk across the Bible s printed page as it 
unfolds a record of the Hebrews as they came in contact with 
various world powers. Sadly, I thought how these lords of 
the ancient world have disappeared and the wilderness and 
successive dynasties have swallowed up all their work. There 
is nothing left of their glory except a few inscriptions here and 
there and the recovered wrecks of a few of their buildings and 
some of them are but heaps of fragments. But here at Dog 
River the great warriors from the past to the present are re 
membered briefly. 


" How would you like to go to Tyre and Sidon with us in 
the morning? " some friends asked me at dinner in Beirut. I 
welcomed this opportunity not only to see more of the Syrian 
Riviera but to tour this Phoenician coast because of its associ 
ation with Jesus* healing ministry among the Gentiles. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 299 

It was about nine o clock when we left the city and headed 
south, not knowing what adventures lay before us. For the 
next few hours we were to travel over good roads and bad, 
over stretches of road still in the making, simply beds of 
crushed rock, and when there was no road at all along the 
hard yellow sand of the Mediterranean shore. 

We passed by countless yawning black caves conspicuous on 
the soft white limestone cliffs of the Lebanon range. Some of 
these have been used as dwellings by prehistoric man. They 
are large, dry, roomy affairs, capable of housing comfortably 
many people. Some have been shelters and hiding places for 
fugitives like David, who fled to one from Saul s jealous 
wrath, or like Lot, who dwelt in one in great fear with his two 
daughters. Some have been used as tombs, and the rock- 
hewn vaults from Graeco-Roman times have long since been 
ransacked for any treasures they might contain. 

Along the way we saw two Syrian women, heavily veiled, 
sitting in the road wildly gesticulating and screaming. They 
had been struck by a passing motor car whose driver had fled 
the scene. Badly scared, slightly shaken, but no injuries be 
yond hurt feelings, they finally got up and walked off. Along 
a particularly bad stretch we watched native women walking 
barefoot on jagged rock and carrying baskets of crushed stone 
on their heads to be used in the construction of this new road 
between Beirut and Haifa. We watched in amazement these 
women doing such hard work. They were aided by men 
whose only jobs seemed to be to lift the heavy baskets to the 
women s heads or tumble the stones out again into the new 

After an hour or so we reached the green gardens on the 
outskirts of modern Saida, the descendant of ancient Sidon. 
Once the oldest and most important Phoenician town, known 
since 2800 B. c., the fate predicted by Jeremiah has come to 
pass and today it is reduced to a minor place of some twelve 

300 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

thousand inhabitants. We drove through the long main street 
of shops, stopped to buy some fruit, but we came away with 
the impression that business is slow in modern Sidon, has de 
serted it for the more thriving market of Beirut. 

We wandered along the sea front. Gone are the north and 
south harbors filled with ships from all parts of the world. 
In their place this day lay moored a few fishing smacks. Hun 
dreds of nets were spread out like sheets to dry in the sunshine. 
The simple fishermen in Sidon are not navigators after the 
manner of those famous mariners who sailed completely 
around Africa in 600 B. a., who sailed the Western ocean, 
penetrated in their ships as far as the Baltic in quest of tin and 
steel, and brought gold and copper from Ophir. It was hard 
for me to realize that its merchants and also those of Tyre had 
ever been princes and navigators who were responsible for the 
safe transference of Persian fleets to Greece and earlier 
manned the Egyptian fleets in the Mediterranean and the 
Red Sea, and provided Solomon with a navy. 

The reef in the harbor was plainly visible. Legend says 
this is the dragon that was about to devour Andromeda when 
Perseus appeared and allowed it to see the head of Medusa, 
whereupon it was turned to stone, and there it lies today with 
its head toward Sidon. It doesn t require much imagination 
to see the shape. Also in the harbor with the bridge by which 
it once was joined to the land is the crumbling sea castle of 
the Crusaders. 

There had been no storm lately along this shore and so we 
were not able to gather from the beach any murex shells from 
which the famous purple dye was made. However, in the 
quaint bazaar we did see burlap awnings dyed in the tradi 
tional Phoenician purple. 

We stopped to watch two men in Turkish style, baggy- 
at-the-seat pants. They were sawing lumber into planks. 
"Gopher wood for boats?" we asked among ourselves, re- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 301 

membering that Sidonian wood-cutters at King Solomon s re 
quest hewed for him cedars from Lebanon* 

Once Sidon which gave gods to the Phoenicians and 
through them to Greece and Italy was a center of adulterous 
religious practices, but the city of Jezebel, daughter of Eth- 
baal, King of the Sidonians, is fallen and the altars of Baal 
have not smoked in hundreds of years. 


Down the road to Tyre, we passed by reputed Zarephath of 
Bible days where Elijah sojourned with the hospitable widow 
whose meal in her barrel " wasted not " and where he repaid 
her hospitality by restoring her son. Somewhere hereabouts 
Joshua s men chased their enemies, " hocked their horses and 
burnt their chariots." 

Looking directly ahead into the face of the deep blue sea 
whose white waves broke onto the yellow sandy beach and to 
low-lying sand dunes rising toward richly green orchards and 
hills, we came farther into " the coast of Tyre and Sidon." 
Once Jesus walked this coast and hallowed it for us and for 
all time when somewhere here he healed the daughter of the 
Syro-Phoenician woman. * Here in his Lord s steps came Paul 
on his way from Ephesus to martyrdom at Rome. After tar 
rying seven days, he knelt on the beach in prayer with a little 
group of sorrowing Christians from the young church at Tyre, 
They knew they would never see his face again and they had 
come to say a last good-bye. 

The sea grew striped with color. The purplish streaks in 
the surf were reminders of how near we were to Tyre. The 
thing we most wanted to see was the remains of the great 
mole or bridge of stones which Alexander the Great made 
centuries before the Christian era and by means of which he 
was finally able to conquer the island-city. 

Ancient Tyre was built partly on the mainland and partly 

3O2 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

on an island in the sea three quarters of a mile from the 
shore. Withdrawing to their rocky haven the Tyrians suc 
cessfully defied Nebuchadnezzar for thirteen years. But Alex 
ander by one of the most famous engineering feats in history 
succeeded in building a causeway of stones and cement from 
the mainland to the isle. After seven months of siege, Tyre 
fell. As the price of her resistance, Alexander slew eight 
thousand of her inhabitants, crucified two thousand more 
upon the shore, and sold thirty thousand into slavery. In 
more peaceful days the bridge became a broad, rocky road 
and on either side men built houses and shops much as I have 
seen shops on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. It was so 
when Jesus withdrew into these parts and later when Paul 
saw it from his ship as he sailed into the harbor. The sea- 
road still exists but the washing of the sands has made it solid 
land and Tyre is no longer an island but a peninsula. 

If Sidon is a sad sight to anyone acquainted with her his 
tory, how much more so is Tyre. Beyond the moles and 
harbor the ruins of Tyre above water are few indeed. The 
sea has claimed the splendid palaces built by her merchants 
who ruled the sea trade of their time. I watched where the 
Mediterranean waves broke with unceasing regularity over an 
aggregation of giant grey and red granite pillars brought from 
Egypt and washed carved masonry which adorned this once 
proud capital city of Phoenicia. Many columns have been 
carried away by villagers to patch their hovels; surely the sea 
around Tyre has been a quarry for towns from Beirut to Acre. 

The city has literally fallen in the sea and the sea front of 
the modern fishing town is actually a place for the making 
and drying of nets today! One becomes silent with astonish 
ment at such a fulfillment of prophecy as Tyre presents. 

From here the road south climbs high above the sea, over 
the " Ladder of Tyre," and finds its winding way into Haifa 
sprawling at the foot of Carmel. It follows the trail beaten 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 303 

by Assyrians, Hittites, Egyptians, a thousand years and more 
before the Romans and Crusaders passed this way. This is no 
silent road. For today modern motor cars, even if antiquated, 
whizz along through the streets of Tyre and Sidon and replace 
to a large extent the picturesque camel caravan of the Ca- 

A bus labelled " Beirut-Haifa " thundered by filled with 
turbaned Arabs going to the Syrian seaport. It reminded us 
we were due in Beirut at one o clock for luncheon. Follow 
ing in the train of the modern motor caravan, we turned our 
backs on Tyre languishing beside the sea it once ruled. 


The approach to Greece has always been by water and so I 
still find it as I debark for a day here. It is a short motor trip 
from sun-baked Piraeus to "violet-wreathed" Athens. I am 
touched by the city s modern comforts and thrill to the splendor 
of her ancient monuments: the Acropolis^ Temple of Theseum, 
Theatre of Dionysus, the Tower of Winds, and the Areopagus. 
<e Miracles of grace in stone ** from the Golden Age lure me first 
to the Acropolis. I At on Mars Hill where Paul preached and 
wonder what is still in Athens that he looked upon when he came 
as a tourist. Sailing from Piraeus at sunset, I enjoy a charming 
last view of the Acropolis towering above the city and of hills 
softly turning purple. 

FROM the glamour of Alexandria with its admixture of 
East and West to the dusty, sun-baked port of ancient and 
modern Athens, Piraeus, is a voyage between two worlds. Yet 
two nights and a day at sea are sufficient to achieve it. Our 
" Export 9 * steamer came into the Roman breakwater lei 
surely, early, not long after daybreak. 

Very disappointing was the morning haze which veiled the 
Athenian hills, the gleaming columns of the Parthenon, the 
very things I had risen early to enjoy while crossing Phaleron 
Bay and entering the great sea walls of Hadrian. Happy was 
the experience of one familiar face upon the wharf. Gabriel, 
like his noble forerunner, bore good news, cheering smiles, and 
a promise that the haze would by and by yield to the Grecian 
sun and reveal the dazzling purity of the Acropolis. 

Our progress had been slow through the Mediterranean 
medley of craft of every type, size, and age. There were 
fishermen who might have supplied the dainties for the 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 305 

criminating tables of Pericles and Alcibiades; there were non 
descript craft of half the shipyards of Europe. Athens is 
linked with all the isles of Greece from Patmos to Candia. 
There were far-flung ocean liners like ours, from many lands; 
there was a kaleidoscope of small craft. This makes up the 
daily spectacle of Piraeus, gateway to modern Athens. Com 
ing alongside the wharf there was presented yet another spec 
tacle, a Near Eastern picture, a turmoil of clamorous activ 
ity, and even the " souvenir sellers " were there. 


I had come to Greece for the first time to spend a day, to 
see her temples, her ancient theatres, to look upon her two 
mountains Lycabettus and Hymettus haunt of the bees 
and the Muses. If I had stayed longer, I might have learned 
then that every Greek is obsessed with modern politics; as it 
was my guide was chiefly interested in gaining sympathizers 
for the Elgin marbles, which are resting in the British Mu 
seum. I might have learned of her industries such as the 
manufacture of cigarettes from Greciarx grown tobacco; as it 
was I visited the Near East Foundation and purchased hand- 
woven linen, pieces of bright pottery, and small dolls dressed 
like " evzones." I might have learned of the excellent wines 
and the delicious native foods; as it was I never got further 
than the thousand and one delights on the hors d oeuvres cart 
at the Grand Bretagne Hotel at noon. I might have become 
familiar with the rich variety of her life; as it was I made the 
acquaintance of a peculiar, overwhelming abundance of 
Athens 3 animal life, the fleas, whose stinging remarks re 
minded me that this fair city has a great deal more than 
human life teeming in its streets. 

The modern comforts of Athens touched all of us from the 
cruise-ship and made us aware of them: good hotels, excel 
lently prepared foods well-served; taxis to whirl us quickly 

306 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

where we wanted to go, airplanes whirred overhead from 
African and Asiatic routes, and an excellent motor road from 
Piraeus to Athens. 

But side by side with this Westernized comfort and the 
thrills of ancient splendors, I did have glimpses of unspoiled 
native life. It revealed to me that most Athenians must dwell 
on housetops! I saw an old woman in her embroidered 
jacket and her billowing petticoats; a peasant in a pleated 
skirt, skullcap, and his shoes adorned with red pom-poms. I 
vaguely heard the clatter of bargaining, which, after Egypt 
and Palestine, is a trifle dimmed. I heard the " squak " of 
ducks. I saw proprietors of coffee houses in checkered aprons 
presiding over tiny uncovered sidewalk tables, but a few were 
placed under pepper trees or occasionally beneath an awning. 
I saw donkey-drivers walking through the clean streets selling 
blossoms which were heaped in panniers upon the donkeys 
backs. Spring was in Greece and Spring was reckless with her 
blossoms ! 


It is impossible to describe Athens in a few paragraphs or in 
a few pages; to see Athens in a day and get much of anything 
from the experience was another impossibility according to 
my friends who had spent long periods of time there. I was 
attempting the impossible, prepared by history courses in 
school, by reading, and being possessed of an open mind to 
seek out its beauties and ready to be impressed. I shall never 
discourage anyone about the benefits of a mere day in Athens, 
knowing what that experience meant to me. 

The sight of ancient Athens sleeping in all its ruined splen 
dor is one of the most moving sights in the world. Athens 
with her amazing Acropolis was even more beautiful than 
my expectations heightened it. The beautiful pillared Tem 
ple of Theseum in the valley was lovely and delightful with 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 307 

its arresting view of the Parthenon on her " high place " clear 
cut against the azure sky. The fallen Temple of Zeus pro 
vided the proper atmosphere for beginning my day of sight 
seeing. The Theatre of Dionysus, center of dramatic art 
where the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aris 
tophanes were performed, was thrilling. If only to sit where 
dignitaries and priests once sat in marble chairs appropriately 
inscribed or to occupy the double throne once occupied by 
two of the city s benefactors, or to relax a moment in one of 
the remaining seats running up to the very foot of the cliff 
where once thirty thousand spectators saw a drama of 
Aeschylus, rejoiced over the defeat of the Persians, or grieved 
with Antigone or for Alcestis, or were excited afresh by 
Aristophanes, was to thrill to " the play s the thing." The 
Tower of Winds stands far below the Acropolis. This oc 
tagonal building whose eight walls are turned to the eight 
points of the compass bearing reliefs representing the winds 
and where on top once stood a huge Triton worked by a 
pivot indicating where the winds lay was once the weather 
bureau of ancient Athens. And the Agora, being replaced to 
its place of importance, reminded me of the bazaar worlds of 
Jerash, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Cairo, and supplied what 
human element seemed lacking among all these relics from the 
past. But the Areopagus, seat of justice, on Mars Hill, poign 
ant with the memory of the apostle Paul, was a surprise. I 
found it a quieting place on a very busy day as the soft breezes 
from the sea played upon me while sitting upon the little 
rough rock in the sun. 

Most travellers, and I was no exception, go immediately to 
the rock, the Acropolis, the center of art and history, to gaze 
in admiration and wonder and to review the past written in 
the dazzling purity of white stone. This is the altar rock of 
the city. During the administration of Pericles, 449-429 
B. c., the Acropolis which formerlv had been the abode of 

308 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

her kings, then a fortress, was turned into a sanctuary for the 
goddess Athena. It was adorned with beautiful buildings 
which have never been excelled by any others in perfection of 
artistic finish and point of perfection* The homes of the kings 
were transferred from here to Mars Hill. 

The Acropolis is really the mother of Athens. Once the 
city was there, then it clung to the south, now it stretches out 
to the north, east, and west and is protected no longer by the 
" queen of hills." During the Age of Pericles it became the 
home of all the guardian deities of Greece, all of them settled 
on this hill. 

This is the place above all others in Athens which draws 
travellers with a lure of beauty. I came to the altar rock 
and mounted the steps of the Propylaea. The ancients were 
so proud of it that a comedian of the period said of them: 
" The Athenians are always praising four things, their myrtle 
berries, their honey, the Propylaea, and their figs." As I 
passed beyond it, I saw rising before me on rough rock the 
Parthenon outlined against the blue sky* As I stood in its 
presence I was conscious that the ascent of the steep steps 
between the columns of the Propylaea had been a prepara 
tion for this moment when I should see that glorious ruin, sit 
ting among ruined marble temples, ruined stairways, and 
broken columns, but an actuality of beauty. I was very glad 
that I could not come suddenly upon the Parthenon but that 
I had to ascend to it. 

The temples on the Acropolis looked very different cen 
turies ago when they were as their creators left them. Instead 
of worn Pentelic marble, weathered by years, yellowed by 
time, they shone then brilliantly with color and gold since 
they were all painted and gilded* Still the Parthenon in 
ruins yet remains the crown of the hill. Here I found the 
works of Phidias and the glory of his temple for Athena, the 
most famous Doric temple, despoiled to be sure but still 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 309 

startlingly beautiful, still impressive in its decadent glory. 
Earthquakes and wars and plunder have laid low parts of the 
structure, but still it gleams majestically in the sunlight and in 
the moonlight. 

Within the now empty Parthenon stood the forty-foot 
statue of Athena, helmeted, standing with her left hand touch 
ing her shield and in her right hand a figure of the Winged 
Victory, a great wooden statue of the goddess, but not one 
inch of wood was visible. The face and hands were covered 
originally with plates of ivory; the eyes were precious stones; 
tresses of gold hair fell from below the gold helmet; forty tal 
ents of gold plates covered the statue, ordered made remov 
able by Pericles and executed by Phidias. 

Near-by is the Temple of Erechtheus, which is in contrast 
to the austere Parthenon. This is the great Ionic shrine, dedi 
cated to Athena Polias, guardian of the city. It is not a large 
temple but a graceful one and its colonnade of the Caryatides 
is one of the fairest things in Athens. Fourteen chaste and 
beautiful columns of this building are still standing. 

The Acropolis retains its old landscape, situated upon a 
plain with the same undisturbed hills of Lycabettus and 
Hymettus, as it was in Paul s day; while at its base on every 
side lies the still fair city of Athens with its smokeless white 
houses. Far away over the hills to the northeast beyond 
Pentelicon, where the marble stones of the Parthenon were 
quarried, lies Marathon with its mounds of .buried heroes 

" Breasted, beat barbarians, stemmed Persia rolling on, 
Did the deed, and saved the world." 

Little Lycabettus stands up bold and diffident. Sapphire seas 
gleam around the shores. A sprinkling of islands still tempt 
landsmen to be seamen. 

Descending from the Acropolis, I saw the rock of the 

3io Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Areopagus on Mars Hill on the top of which Paul preached 
to the Athenians. He must have ascended the slight hill by 
the same rude steps cut in its rocky sides as I did; he must 
have stood upon the same commanding crag where I stood 
when he told his listeners: " Men of Athens, I see that you 
are in every way unusually reverential to the gods. For in 
passing about and contemplating your sacred objects I came 
upon an altar on which was inscribed, * To an Unknown 
God. " As he spoke he could easily have glanced toward the 
Acropolis not far distant, crowded with marble temples, dom 
inated by the colossal bronze statue of Athena, whose spear 
tip was visible to seamen as far as Sunium. 

Sitting on Mars Hill beneath an open sky, in plain sight of 
the Acropolis with the Parthenon, and looking beyond to 
mounts Hymettus and Lycabettus, all things which Paul saw, 
it wasn t hard to imagine Paul wandering lonely through the 
lovely city, wondering at its glorious sights, its stately build 
ings, its splendid altars, its multiplicity of statues of gods. To 
cultured tourists Athens of that day was a dream of beauty 
just as it is in its decadent glory today. It needs only the 
merest stretch of the imagination to have chapter seventeen 
of the Book of the Acts come alive here. 

As I sat that afternoon on Mars Hill and read chapter sev 
enteen I tried to imagine the councillors of the Areopagus as 
sembled to hear the Apostle to the Gentiles as he pled for the 
worship of the one true, eternal, righteous God and for His 
Son, Jesus Christ. The thought came to me that in my own 
time as well as in the Athens of the first century there are 
many who seem to get along very well without Him except in 
vague, occasional moments. In my own time as well as in the 
Athens of the first century there are many people who have 
substituted for true worship other gods, idols of success, 
wealth, beauty, social position, intellectuality, " things carved 
out by man s art and thought." False gods with their special 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 311 

celebrations and festivals offering a succession of great occa 
sions for pilgrims to their shrines stirred Paul to speak in 
Athens of the first century; then men set up their idols, graven 
images of stone on the Acropolis; today men set them up in 
their hearts. 

Just what did Paul see here in the year 50 A* D.? The city 
had fallen from its ancient splendor, Marathon and Ther 
mopylae were remote incidents to him even if he knew about 
them. I don t suppose he had ever read Homer, Thucydides, 
or even Herodotus. At least some of us have that much in 
common with the Apostle because few of us know these au 
thors works today. As he walked beside the Long Walls dat 
ing from classical time and saw the Acropolis rising from the 
plain, did he hear words which someone had repeated to him, 
maybe it was Peter, when he had been at the Church Council 
meeting in Jerusalem: " Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature " ? I like to think that Peter 
told Paul of what Jesus had said presaging a world- wide mis 
sion for the gospel and of his vision at Joppa which had in 
fluenced his preaching at the time that Jewish leaders were 
trying to lay burdens upon those accepting the faith. I like to 
think that thereafter when Paul entered a new city to preach 
the gospel that those words were ringing in his ears. 

When Paul entered Athens he came as a tourist, too. I had 
never until that moment on Mars Hill thought of the Apostle 
wandering about the city s streets as might any casual tourist 
from Rome, Alexandria, London, or New York and then 
later dwelling as casual tourists do on the one thing that im 
presses them most among a foreign people. What impressed 
the tourist Paul in the first century was the multiplicity of 
altars and especially that one altar to " An Unknown God." 
It had impressed other travellers, among them Apollonius, 
whose biography had been written by Philostratus. He 
wrote : " Altars are set up in honor even of unknown gods. * 

312 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Altars such as these were a commonplace in the ancient 
world, Paul s beginning of his speech had just the right local 
touch. Everyone within reach of his voice knew to what he 
referred; they even knew the origin of that altar on the 
Acropolis. His hearers were familiar with the story of the 
plague which visited Athens in the sixth century before Christ 
and how, after sacrifices had been made to every known god 
and still the plague continued, the services of a Cretan 
prophet were requested. He drove a flock of black and white 
sheep to the Areopagus and allowed them to stray where they 
liked only waiting until they rested of their own free will. 
Then and there the sheep were sacrificed to the god, of whom 
until then the Athenians had been oblivious. According to 
legend the plague ceased upon the sacrifice to this unknown 
god who had been placated. Then it became the custom ever 
after in Athens and even elsewhere in the pagan world to 
erect altars to unknown gods in order not to overlook any 
who might become angry because of non-recognition. Archae 
ologists have unearthed stone altars, not at Athens but at 
Pergamum and on the Palatine Hill near Rome, bearing the 
inscription: " To the Unknown Gods," or a similar dedica 

After such an arresting beginning, Paul began to build up 
his arguments: 

" What you are worshipping in ignorance that I am making 
known unto you. 

" The God who made the world and all the things that are in 
it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in tem 
ples made by hands, nor is he served by human hands, as if he 
needed anything. For he gives to all life and breath and all 
things. And he made of one every nation of men to dwell on 
all the face of the earth, having marked out the appointed times 
and the boundaries of their abodes, that they might seek for God, 
if they could feel after him and find him, though, indeed, he is 
not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 313 

are; as some of your own poets have said, e For we are also his 
offspring.* Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to 
think that deity is like gold or silver or stone, a thing carved by 
man s art and thought. The times of ignorance God over 
looked, but now he commands all men everywhere to change, 
since he has set a day in which he will soon judge the world in 
justice by the man whom he has appointed, and of whom he has 
given evidence to all men by raising him from the dead." 

BOOK OF THE ACTS 17: 23-31* 
(The Riverside New Testament) 

Apparently his speech was a failure because the Greeks would 
listen no more after he proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus 
and the coming day of judgment. He converted two persons 
only, Dionysius and Damaris. Tradition says nothing what 
soever about Damaris, but of the other, Dionysius, it records 
that he became the first Bishop of Athens, went to Rome and 
stayed with Paul until his martyrdom, then went to preach the 
gospel in France, and finally suffered martyrdom on the V"H 
of martyrs, Montmartre, in Paris under the extreme persecu 
tions of the Emperor Domitian. Tradition affirms that is how 
St. Dionysius or St. Denis, as he is sometimes called, became 
the patron saint of France. 


As I sat upon Mars Hill, there came a strong urge to know 
just what is now in Athens that Paul actually saw. I am sure 
that he saw the Acropolis with its splendid Propylaea and the 
gleaming Parthenon. He was never to know that that sanc 
tuary for a pagan god upon which he could easily have gazed 
as he talked of the " Unknown God " would become in time 
a Christian church, devoted to the worship of the one God 
and His Son, Jesus Chris^ of whose resurrection the Athenians 
were not willing to hear that day he spoke. He saw the Tem 
ple of Erechtheus and the Temple of Athena Nike, the 
" Wingless Victory," a perfect and fascinating little Ionic 

314 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

structure. He saw Asklepieion whose ruins are still cut in the 
side of the Acropolis. He saw the lovely Theatre of Dio 
nysus. He saw the Theseum, the most perfectly preserved 
Greek temple in the world. Surely, he saw the Tower of 
Winds, perhaps he even stopped to observe the current 
weather report. He must have been attracted to the circular 
Monument of Lysikrates. Interesting to the Bible student is 
the fact that Athens contains more buildings that Paul must 
have seen than any site in Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, or 


Down a glorious motor road with pleasant cottages and 
bungalows I sped back to the boat, scheduled to sail promptly 
at five o clock, cargo or no cargo ! I had spent the day, only 
a day in Greece; I was the merest tourist. But I carried away 
a lovely, unique memory of " miracles of grace in stone " and 
a firm resolve to come back again the next year. 

The boat was setting forth westward for the Bay of Naples. 
We were out in Phaleron Bay, everyone was at the rail wait 
ing and watching as probably those Athenians waited and 
watched so long ago for one more glimpse of the Acropolis. 
As Gabriel had prophesied earlier that day, the haze lifted 
and there upon her sacred haven, outlined against a clear 
blue sky, was Athens monument, the Parthenon. I carried 
away as my particular treasure memories of this temple tower 
ing above the city, of a silver sea, and of hills under a sunset 
sky turning softly purple. 


Describes my voyage from the Bay of Phaleron to the Bay of 
Naples, I travel to the resurrected Pompeii at the foot of 
Mount Vesuvius to look for traces of the gospel there, go on to 
exquisite Amalfi and think of Andrew, and drive to Sorrento over 
a fine road offering ever-changing views of indescribable scenery. 

THAT night I sailed around the "mulberry leaf 55 as the 
Grecian peninsula was called by the ancients. Enveloped 
in woolly steamer rugs I lay in my chair on the boat deck, re 
laxing after the exigencies of the day at Athens, recalling 
many things which at the time had not seemed important, 
watching a luminous sky where earlier a moon had appeared, 
and gazing far off to sea where the stars ended suddenly in 
blackness. All at once I was startled from my reveries by a 
sudden change in the wind which until then had been blowing 
light and cool over my face. Now it seemed ruthless and 
chilling as it swept over me. There was a sudden lurch of 
the steamer as it began to roll in waters that were running 
swiftly now. " It s good-bye to Greece, 53 someone called out. 
I remembered having read somewhere that sailors in Paul s 
day feared these waters south of the Grecian peninsula. It 
hadn t made much of an impression upon me then as I read. 
Now I began trying to recall what it had been. It began to 
come back the more I felt that stinging, biting wind against 
my face, the more I struggled to keep the woolen robe about 
me, the more I felt the uneasiness of the large liner. It con 
cerned ancient Corinth and the Isthmus of Corinth, four miles 
of clay which linked the Peloponnesus to Attica. As early as 
the fifth century B. a, the commerce from the Orient to the 


316 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

West across here made Corinth a flourishing city and the Gulf 
of Corinth became an important focus of traffic. As late as 
Paul s day Corinth was still a great metropolis because of its 
strategic position at the isthmus and because of that it af 
forded many commercial opportunities to Jews who had been 
banished from Rome by Claudius. The utility of the isthmus 
was long recognized. Before the present canal was con 
structed, ships sailing between the two seas, Aegean and 
Ionium (Adriatic), were forced to make a detour of two 
hundred miles around the Morea with its dangerous and 
feared Cape Malea. It was customary even in the fifth cen 
tury B. c. for ships 3 cargoes to be transferred from East to 
West by means of this Isthmus of Corinth rather than sail 
with their cargoes of raw materials, foodstuffs, Grecian metal- 
work, woven goods, and pottery around the peninsula which 
was usually stormy, swept as it was, and still is, by treacher 
ous winds. Cargoes in boats too heavy to be moved across 
on a roller-like structure were transferred into smaller craft, 
taken across the four miles, and reloaded at the opposite end 
into trustworthy sea-going vessels. In either case the treacher 
ous sea at Cape Malea which we were now experiencing was 
avoided. The results were a saving in delays in schedules due 
to storms, a speeding up of deliveries, and a guarding against 

" It is getting too rough and windy to be comfortable. 
Let s go below/ 3 someone urged. 

No wonder this stretch of waterway was avoided by an 
cient sailors, I thought. The reason for the Corinthian Canal 
was obvious now; the reasons for Corinth becoming such a 
metropolis, one of the most flourishing of Greek trading cities, 
was obvious, too. The reason for Paul s trepidation in preach 
ing to Corinthians was understandable. There he had a cos 
mopolitan population drawn by commercial opportunities, an 
aristocracy of wealth not birth nor background, given to vice. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 317 

corruption, wickedness. Yet at Corinth Paul " determined to 
know nothing . . . save Jesus Christ, and him crucified/ and 
laying aside his futile philosophical preaching such as he had 
attempted at Athens, won many converts. Among them were 
grafters, drunkards, prostitutes, as well as people of decent 
life like Priscilla and Aquila, 

I was rather glad that I hadn t gone directly to my cabin 
after dinner; perhaps then I should have missed this glimpse 
into the world of Paul s day. 

u Don t forget Stromboli. We pass the obscure island 
which would be lost in the sea if it weren t for its sensational 
pyrotechnic display tomorrow, sometime around midnight. 
It s an unforgettable show when the crater erupts and streams 
of fire roll down the mountainside into the sea at night. 
Many a ship has charted its course through the Straits of 
Messina by its light," I heard the voice explaining to newcom 
ers into this Mediterranean world. 

" And it s Naples the following morning for sunrise. You 
must not miss the world s most beautiful harbor," I heard the 
voice continue. 

I sighed as I remembered that those who see it for the first 
time, even though familiar with it from pictures, are little pre 
pared for the exceptional beauty of its bays, its many tiny 
islands of which Capri and Ischia are sphinxes crouching on 
the water, guarding against the unknown dangers of the deep; 
of a sapphire sky matched by the famous blue of the sea, of 
green slopes, lovely villas, white rocks, and of that stately 
sentinel Vesuvius which even now holds up a smoking torch. 


Italy was in sight. We were slowly making our way into 
the port of Naples. I had been up more than an hour, hoping 
for glimpses of Capri s rugged precipices which alternate with 
green gardens ablaze with flowers and her luxurious hotels 

318 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

and villas which contrast with the simple dwellings of her 
fisherfolk, straining for glimpses of this coast which always in 
spring is a continuous succession of magnificent scenery and 
a gay profusion of flowers. There was Vesuvius in the dis 
tance. Of aU this Paul did not see the smoke of Vesuvius as 
his boat sailed across the Gulf to Puteoli. His ship passed 
Naples, passed harmless Mount Vesuvius whose slopes were 
thickly covered with vines and in its shadow Pompeii and 
Herculaneum were laughing away the last twenty years of 
their lives. But for the clouds of grey smoke which domi 
nated the scene and reminded me of the catastrophe twelve 
years after Paul s martyrdom, it might have been the year 59 
when he saw from the deck of the Castor and Pollux this land 
putting on its mantle of green and spring flowers. 

It must have been as truly beautiful in 59 A. D. as it was 

this morning. 

Not even the ominous presence of grey battleships in its wa 
ters, magnificent in grace of line, sinister in their suggestions of 
potential destructiveness, could spoil the morning s beauty for 


Strangely, I have never been disappointed in my arrivals in 
the Bay of Naples, which holds within its curving arms a 
thriving city. I ve thought how well the Greeks named the 
city when they called it Parthenope, meaning a siren. From 
Homer s time to ours this enchanting region has captivated 
the hearts o men. For me its fascination has been these: 
a sea like a variegated marble pavement, sunny skies, haunt 
ing Neapolitan songs, antiquated streets over twenty-four 
hundred years old, Christian churches built over pagan 
temples, wonderful museums housing magnificent treasures, 
but best of all a gay, light-hearted people who are extremely 
temperamental and quick-witted but not lazy any more. 
The lofty background for this was Mount Vesuvius with its 
silent plumes of smoke clearly cut on the horizon. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 319 


By day Vesuvius 3 ceaseless waves of smoke, at night its 
torch of fire proclaim it as a champion of destruction. The 
excavation of its two victims, Herculaneum and Pompeii, re 
veals remnants of one of the most memorable and tragic con 
vulsions of the earth s surface, the eruption of the mighty 
volcano in 79 A. D. 

In February of 63 A. D. an earthquake destroyed a large 
portion of Pompeii, which was a fashionable resort for pleas 
ure-loving Roman nobles. They owned villas here which they 
used as winter residences. Its industrial and year-round 
population was employed in wine-making. After the fearful 
shaking, which was their first warning that all was not well in 
the region of Vesuvius, Pompeians, satisfied that calamity was 
past, tried to rebuild the city in Roman architecture, modified 
somewhat by Greek influences. Of the hundreds of Pom 
peians who fled then ijiany returned to live. Paul was at tlm 
time in Rome and probably engaged in writing parts of the 
letter which we know as First Timothy when the earthquake 
broke the little city of twenty-five thousand people into pieces. 

In 79 A. D., only twelve years after the martyrdom of Paul at 
Rome, this mountain usually covered with fertile fields and 
vineyards began to smoke, erupted, and covered the whole re 
gion with a fine, fiery, red-hot rain of pumice stones and fine 
brown dust. Pompeii was not buried in a flow of lava. Ex 
cavation has shown that instead it was covered with enormous 
masses of volcanic pumice stones, cinders (dust from the 
pumice stone) . . . literally drowned in dust and ashes! 
This was settled by the rain which followed the catastrophe 
and by the heavy weight which became in time a hard, stony 
blanket, a blanket about twenty-five feet in depth. 

On the fatal afternoon of August 23rd, the amphitheatre 
was filled with spectators who were watching a gladiatorial 

320 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

show. Probably upon the first warnings the audience fled 
into the open country and many of them were saved. The 
perfect deluge of destruction came at exactly two o clock in 
the morning as the hourglass found at Pompeii testifies. Ter 
rible sounds came from the depths of the mountain. Its 
mighty fury was spent first on Herculaneum. There must 
have been many persons in Pompeii who believed until late in 
the evening that this city would escape. However, with the 
ample warning issued by Vesuvius, men rushed from the 
Forum, from the Amphitheatre, women snatched their chil 
dren and ran for their lives; the greater portion of the inhab 
itants fled the city. But some were sick, some were lame, 
some blind. Some stayed to help. Some rushed back in the 
dreadful darkness that prevailed to conduct others to safety. 
Two thousand perished, suffocated by the sulphurous fumes, 
unable to get farther through the ram of red-hot ashes. 
Everything within the houses is as it was when the catastrophe 
occurred, just as the inhabitants rushed off and left it: the 
bread in the oven baking, meat and fowl partially cooked and 
left by a fleeing cook, a dining table set for dinner. Although 
many fled none had been prepared for the emergency that 
Pompeii might be literally wiped out between two o clock in 
the afternoon and two o clock in the morning. The volcanic 
matter that buried the city and suffocated the people who 
did not heed the early warnings and who were overcome in 
the very act of escape preserved the very forms in death of the 
escaping men and women. Their bodies were practically 
moulded into the mixture of ashes and cinders which later 
combined to form plaster casts to preserve their attitudes and 
costumes. The petrified remains in the little Museum at 
Pompeii are pathetic, a dog biting itself in agony, a man in 
death throes. How many have wished, seeing these things, 
that in the excavations at Pompeii some early New Testament 
manuscript, say a copy of one of Paul s letters or a Gospel, 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 321 

would be discovered. So far excavators have not found a 
single reference to Paul, to Peter, to the gospel, or Christian 
ity here nor among the valuable papyri found at Hercula- 

Does this mean that neither of these fashionable centers 
was affected by the gospel? In 59 A. D. when Pompeii was at 
the peak of its glory, Paul sailed past Naples Bay, saw Vesu 
vius harmless, green-covered with vineyards, saw Pompeii and 
Herculaneum nestling at its base, and sailed on to Puteoli, the 
last lap in his journey to Rome to appeal to Nero. After 
teaching, strengthening the Christian brethren in their faith 
and establishing the Church, Paul suffered martyrdom at 
Rome along with Peter, It was 67 A. D. 

Vespasian was declared emperor in 69 A. D. The next year 
his son Titus captured and destroyed Jerusalem amid frightful 
massacres of pious and fanatical Jews. The beautiful Tem 
ple, which had been erected by Herod, was utterly destroyed. 
Today on the Forum at Rome stands one colossal monument 
containing a pictorial record of the Holy City s complete de 
struction. The Arch of Titus commemorates pictorially the 
siege in the Near East which was a complete victory for the 
Romans, Titus Vespasius, hero and conqueror, was probably 
the Roman ruler when the tragedy of Pompeii occurred. Had 
no Pompeian heard " the good news " from the lips of Peter, 
or Paul, or one of their disciples in all that time, or from some 
of the Jewish-Christians fleeing Jerusalem? Tradition says 
that Felix s wife Drusilla and her son Felix perished in the 
eruption of Vesuvius. She might have told, if it had occurred 
to her, of the time at Caesarea when the prisoner Paul ap 
peared before her as a youthful bride and her husband as 
Procurator of Judea, and of how Paul in telling them con 
cerning the faith of Jesus Christ reasoned with them about 
uprightness, self-control, and the coming judgment. 

But if no one saved in a metal box any copies of New 

322 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Testament books older than any known to us or treasured any 
word about this startling new movement and its leaders, 
nonetheless Pompeii and Herculaneum are wonderful ex 
periences for a Christian. Their houses and streets give one 
the feeling of the world of Peter and Paul, and an idea of an 
cient domestic life and the development of the private house 
in the Italy known to the early Christians. They would have 
been " at home " in any of these houses in Pompeii. 

They were not constructed of marble or stone but of bricks. 
Every house seems to have had an airy spacious court, an 
cc atrium/ 3 which was surrounded on all four sides by por 
ticoes. In the center of this large court was a marble basin, 
known as the " impluvium," used as a receptacle for collect 
ing rain water which fell off the penthouse roof which sloped 
toward the middle court. From this wide courtyard the ad 
joining living rooms received their only light and air. Guests 
were entertained in living rooms under the porticoes or in the 
early Pompeian houses at the far end facing the entrance in 
what was the family meeting-place, like our drawing room. 
Of all the houses excavated and reconstructed perhaps the 
House of the Vetii is the most famous. This may be admired 
in all its original aspects. It is certainly one of the most beau 
tiful houses of the latest period of Pompeii. Interesting be 
cause its beautiful frescoes have been left in their original 
places and the lovely gardens restored. In its garden laid out 
in landscape style its fountain is unique. A tiny spray of 
water comes from the bills of two exquisitely formed little 
ducks held in the arms of tiny boys. Of interest to many is 
the villa s commodius kitchen with its bronze utensils still col 
lected around the fireplace. 

The dwellings of the wealthy residents of Pompeii were ex 
tremely beautiful, some excelling in the wealth of their mural 
decoration or their gardens. It is rather difficult to imagine 
anything more beautiful and durable in mural decoration 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 323 

than that which embellished their walls. They were of 
stucco, hard and smooth as marble, tastefully colored. Upon 
these tinted surfaces were painted charming frescoes which 
have outlasted in many cases more than eighteen centuries of 
burial. Some illustrate Greek mythology, a few are land 
scapes portraying the scenery of the Naples coast. 

Great care is being taken by archaeologists to preserve the 
upper stories of houses with their pillared openings and bal 
conies. Those villas whose upper portions were made chiefly 
of wood were set on fire and consumed by the live ashes 
showered on the city. These demolished portions are being 
reconstructed to their original aspect. A definite idea of an 
cient architecture and house-planning in the first century can 
be gathered by even the initiate. 

The chief buildings to be seen here from the time of Paul 
are : the Amphitheatre which seated twenty thousand persons 
and which was filled on the fateful day, the Forum which was 
the center of public life in any Roman city, and the Temple of 
Jupiter which was the place of worship for the Capitoline di 
vinities, Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. There is the Temple of 
Apollo which was built as far back as the Samnite period 
(325-295 B. c.). This is surrounded by a portico of forty- 
eight columns between which statues of the gods were placed. 
This rises in the center of the sacred enclosure on the west of 
the Forum. The solemn and imposing dark mass of Vesu 
vius, its crater enveloped in vapor, dominates the scene. Too, 
there is the Temple of Isis whose worship imported from 
Egypt was common in Pompeii of the first century. A num 
ber of skeletons were found within the private sanctuary of 
this shrine. Some unhappy people dared to invade the sanc 
tity of the hallowed area hoping that Isis would spread a 
mantle of protection over them and here, praying, they 
stifled in the atmosphere and died. 

From the Temple of Isis, the Strada Stabiana leads to the 

324 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Via delFAbbondanza, meaning the " Street of Abundance/ 5 
This newly discovered street led through an unknown com 
mercial quarter of the city. Now rows of taverns, shops, fac 
tories, and homes are coming to light. The wall paintings 
with that incomparable " Pompeian red " are as fresh and 
colorful here as the day in which they were laid on. There are 
some important buildings on this street, such as the Stabian 
Baths and the College for the Youth; the latter being where 
the juveniles learned to handle arms and engage in sports. 

Perhaps what is of primary interest along here to the aver 
age visitor is the reconstruction of everyday domestic life in 
79 A. D. This Roman city, recovered from its ashes, reveals 
the life and reality of nearly two thousand years ago. Jerash 
(Gerasa) in Trans- Jordan, seldom visited by tourists, is an 
other city of a somewhat later date whose ruins reveal a 
Roman city-plan. But the fate which befell it while cata 
strophic to its fame and glory at the time was not the tragic 
fate of Pompeii. Along here are the oil-presses which supplied 
a very necessary article of diet. One can visit the bakeshop 
with its brick oven in which excavators found carbonized 
loaves of bread. The wine shops can be seen still retaining 
their frames for the wine jars and bearing still the marks of 
name, quality, and year of vintage. They give an idea of the 
industry of those remote times. 

On some buildings are found advertisements for all sorts 
of things. Americans are apt to think that we are the only 
ones who deface landscapes and buildings with " ads." The 
Pompeians used this device effectively and by its use even 
urged the election of certain men to public office. As young 
sters often do in some sections of American cities today, one 
bygone day some Roman youngster scratched his Greek al 
phabet upon the side of a Pompeian house where it can be 
still seen. There are even advertisements for local theatrical 
amusements and attractions, all of which reveals to us that 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 325 

Pompeians were a pleasure-loving people, perhaps of a type of 
entertainment which might not appeal to us today. 

The ancient stepping-stones are here, the very ones by 
which Roman ladies crossed from one side of the narrow 
streets to the other in going from shop to shop. At the water 
trough on Via dell Abbondanza, where many Pompeians 
must have quenched their thirst and that of their horses with 
the silvery stream of pure water flowing from a pipe, visitors 
to Pompeii stop to taste the still flowing fresh water. The 
outside plumbing system in use in the first century never fails 
to be a source of wonderment. 

There are to be seen in these cluttered narrow streets the 
deep ruts made by the chariot wheels. A sense of the past 
haunted me with the spirits of the pleasure-loving Pompeians. 
Standing on the elevated sidewalk, outside a shop, the unseen 
but real citizens of Pompeii actually come alive. Once again 
there are dashing, pleasure-bent, gay young Lotharios speed 
ing by, thrilling some young Roman matrons and causing 
consternation among other less admiring and adventurous in 
dividuals who narrowly escape the heavy chariot wheels and 
thundering hoofs. 

It is at the amusement center, which I have mentioned 
briefly, with the Great Theatre, capable of seating five thou 
sand devotees of the tragedy, or at the Odeon, capable of seat 
ing fifteen hundred fans of the comic mimes, that the civic- 
minded but gay Pompeians come to life again. 

The first time I visited the Great Theatre as a member of 
a large touring party. In the group was a garrulous profes 
sor from one of America s large institutions of learning, a stu 
dent of the Greek and Elizabethan dramas, who wanted to 
display for us less educated travellers his Knowledge. He 
almost broke the spell of Pompeii. Some places need silence 
in approach and this Great Theatre is such a place. 

There is a deeply worn doorsill into which every visitor 

326 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

may place his feet today, just as every pilgrim may place his 
feet into two grooves worn by pairs of feet through passing 
centuries at the entrance to the Church of the Nativity in 
Bethlehem. It weaves a magic spell and time stands still 
again. As I stepped upon the doorsill of the theatre, it gave 
me a feeling of oneness with all latecomers at a Roman trag 
edy in the early centuries. 

There is a long, narrow stage and behind it is the colon 
naded open square where the spectators took shelter or en 
gaged in " between the acts " conversation. In its heydey, 
the theatre presented a gay appearance with its marble deco 
rations. In the " cavea " sat the audience ready for the play. 
The five tiers of seats were occupied by the chairs of the no 
bility; the second twenty tiers accommodated the middle 
classes who brought their own soft cushions; while the third 
section held the ordinary people. High above all sat the 
women, separated from the men. Each woman was allotted 
just one foot and three and a half inches of space. This was an 
open air tragic theatre on pleasant days; but on days when 
the sun shone too strongly for comfort, it boasted an awning. 

The garrulous professor was silenced by the official guide. 
His low, soft, carrying voice allowed us to hear his facts but 
at the same time to muse in the balmy air of a typical Italian 
day underneath such a sky as must have canopied the Pom- 
peians as they sat in these tiers of seats. Shadowy figures in 
togas slipped quietly into the empty spaces around us. A 
light wind swept across the theatre, bringing with it echoes of 
whispers to mingle with ours. We seemed to be waiting for 
the play to continue. Was it a tragedy of Seneca s which we 
had interrupted? Alas, the play -at Pompeii was ended by 
the rising of the Columbian professor, who called to his sisters 
whom he was giving a European holiday. 

Pompeii reveals the Roman city of the world of Paul. Too, 
it teaches that human nature and everyday life have not 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 327 

greatly changed in nineteen hundred years. It is not hard as 
one walks up and down the silenced streets, still paved with 
their original polygonal Vesuvian flagstones, to believe that 
all the population has just gone off for a holiday and will re 
turn at any moment. 

I sailed out of Naples Bay once at nighttime . . . into a 
blue darkness that was pierced with stars. I looked up at the 
loom of Vesuvius and saw the long ascending line of lights 
which marked the funicular railway on the mountainside. My 
dreams were of another city than Naples, of a city that was 
smothered in a few hours almost two thousand years ago and 
whose resurrection today is little short of a miracle. 


From dreamy Pompeii the road toward Amalfi is one of 
the finest in the world. It winds through an enchanting 
scenery of green valleys, past vine-clad terraces on high hills, 
and into pretty towns of clustered white houses with red roofs. 
In spring beside it countless orange and lemon trees hang 
golden globes against a clear blue sky. Sometimes the road 
runs along the sea; sometimes almost upon a shelf of sheer 
rock below which the sparkling blue Mediterranean spreads 
itself like a filigree of silver foam. On through colorful vil 
lages which are riots of flowers and greenery, bathed in sun 
shine; villages like Salerno, Maiori, Minori, and tiny Ravello 
whose beauty and peace inspired Wagner for the scenery in 
the magic garden of Klingsor. Below high bluffs upon which 
appear the forms of ruined castles. The smooth road runs 
down to the blue sea at Amalfi; it arrives finally after emerg 
ing from a tunnel at Amalfi s famous hostel, the Hotel Cap- 
puccini, a rambling, white building situated on the wild, 
rocky, but verdant cliffs above the peaceful harbor, where 
mountain meets sea. 

The frowning cliffs, forming a striking background, rise per- 

328 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

pendicularly behind the village, almost sheer from the road 
way. On dizzying heights are hundreds of small dwellings 
which are perched picturesquely tier upon tier almost as if a 
hurricane had blown them there. High on the side of the 
mountain, reached only by a tiny lift or by a winding, tiring 
staircase, is what was once the quiet convent of the Capuchins. 
The convent with its dreamy cloisters, arcades, and terraced 
walks has been converted into a hostel offering rest and re 
freshment after a morning s drive. 

Gazing down the Salernian coast from an arcade at the 
convent, the peace broken only by the hum of bees, it seems 
incredible that only eight hundred years ago Amalfi was a 
commercial city which vied with Genoa and Pisa, made laws 
to govern the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to the Golden 
Horn, and owned colonies in Africa and Asia. Many of the 
villagers today in what once was the oldest maritime republic 
are engaged in fishing. Their nets are spread upon the shore 
when not in use and their boats pulled up near-by out of the 
water. If they are not fishermen, they are engaged in the 
profitable manufacture of spaghetti and macaroni. Like the 
dripping nets that, too, once used to be hung out on racks be- 
side the motor road to dry but this picturesque, if not sanitary 
custom, has been discontinued since the years of Fascist! rule 
in Italy. 

From the broad windows, from the arcades, I had glimpses 
of blue skies, white clouds, dizzy green heights, and winding 
roads playing peek-a-boo on mountain slopes. It was no 
surprise to discover that there are many inviting walks and 
motor, donkey, or boat excursions for the curious. I particu 
larly remember one short walk through its clean, narrow, 
sometimes arched, steep streets which ended in a wide-open, 
paved square before the beautiful Cathedral of St. Andrew. I 
was quite unprepared for the beauty of the Cathedral fagade, 
or the pull of those dozens of steps leading to its entrance. 

Photograph b;i Enit 

The Cathedral dedicated to St Andrew at Amalfu The 
brightly colored glaze tiles covering the ancient campanile 
and the more recent cathedral harmonize with the scenery. 
The city of the once famous Amalfi merchants rises tier upon 
tier below "wild and rocky cliffs upon which appear the 
forms of ruined castles* 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 329 

Earlier beside Galilee, seeing fishing boats setting out in the 
early morning I had dreamed of quiet Andrew, the first to fol 
low Jesus; now I began to muse again as I stood before the 
church which is reputed to hold the relics of the Apostle, 
whose body translated in 1208 from Istanbul lies in the crypt 
of AmalfTs Cathedral. I had visited the lake beside which 
he was born and where he spent the early years of his life until 
his call by the Teacher; I had travelled up and down the same 
roads where he had walked beside Jesus and listened mean 
time to his wisdom; now I had come to his final resting-place 
I could not order remembrance out of my mind. It seemed 
so very right to remember him here. 

Most people neglect Andrew or else know him as the rela 
tive of a greater man, Simon Peter. He could have made too 
much of that relationship but he never did. He never did any 
famous things like jumping into the sea, or cutting off ears, or 
converting three thousand people in one day by a brilliant 
sermon. It was his brother who could do such things. I 
would say that skillful introductions were his chief claim to 
greatness. During his career he made three distinctive intro 

I began to think of his moral courage. He dared to speak 
to his brother, a bigger man in the world s eyes than himself, 
and to say with assurance and conviction: " We have found 
the Messias." He dared to announce his religious convictions 
to his own brother, whose home he shared. He had no hes 
itancy about discussing religious subjects with his relative nor 
had he any idea that someone outside the family would have 
more influence with his brother than a member of the home 
circle. It is to Andrew s eternal glory that he shared his news 
and discovery first with Peter and confined his missionary ef 
forts to his immediate family. His moral courage made him 

The second introduction took place on the green hills of 

330 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

Galilee. Multitudes had been listening spellbound to the 
Teacher. .Evening had fallen and the question of feeding this 
crowd arose. Two hundred pennyworth of bread was not suf 
ficient to provide for this vast company. Again, Andrew came 
forward in his beautiful role of an " introducer." He said, 
" There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves and two 
fishes, but what is this among so many? ** 

There was some incredulity, but some hope in Andrew s 
question. Perhaps Jesus could see some possibility in these 
scanty provisions. 

" Bring them hither to me/ 9 answered Jesus. 

Again I began thinking as I had on the day when I stood 
at the site of the feeding of the five thousand in Palestine of 
how Andrew s face must have lighted with joy as he thrust 
that lad forward to meet the Master. Another introduction, 
skillfully handled; it provided the vehicle for another miracle, 
the feeding of the multitude. 

But this was at the end. At the very close of Jesus 3 earthly 
career,- almost within the shadow of the Cross, some Greeks 
came to Philip and asked to meet the Galilean. Philip didn t 
know what to do and he appealed to Andrew. No hesitancy 
this time because Andrew was sure that the Master would like 
to meet them. 

All this man, whose bones now lie in the crypt at the Ca 
thedral, asked of life were opportunities to present strangers to 
Jesus Christ. He had no cravings for prominence among the 
Twelve, yet today his name is immortal. Descending the steps 
of the Cathedral, I seemed to hear Andrew saying : 

"Give me the lowest place: or if for me 
That lowest place too high, make one more low 
Where I may sit and see 
My God and love Thee so." 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 331 


Situated peacefully betwixt green pines and blue sea, Sor 
rento is only a short drive from Amalfi. It is always the same 
along the sea-route toward Naples. There are grim, neg 
lected pirates 3 caves and peaceful little harbors. The motor 
car has crowded gaily painted carts and festive-looking be- 
ribboned donkeys to the very edge of the highway. Down a 
steep hill and with a final flourish and rush the car has come 
to a sudden stop in the square at Sorrento. The question for 
me has always been the same: What to do now I am here? 
Yawning shops with their heaps of embroidered linen, gay 
striped silk scarves, and tarsia boxes, and beckoning shop 
keepers who stand on sidewalks compete for favor with hotels 
whose pleasantly situated balconies out over the Mediter 
ranean offer soul-satisfying views of ragged coastline and pre 
cious moments of relaxation at tea-tables. 


I follow in Paul s steps along the Via Appia from Puteoli to 
Rome. I look up the Apostle s fc hired house" locate Frisco s 
house on the Aventine Hill 3 and go to the Mamertine Prison, I 
relive the last days of Peter and Paul in the Eternal City, de 
scend into the catacombs, and return to their churches built over 
their tombs. 1 visit places in Rome associated with the apostles 
and their disciples. My journeys end beneath the wooden cross 
in the Colosseum. 

I DEBARKED at Naples and when the business of customs 
and passport was over, I was on my way to follow in the 
steps of Paul. My steamer did not go to Pozzuoli (Puteoli) , 
which is a few miles west of Naples. Travellers bound for 
there to relive Paul s last journey along the Appian Way to 
Rome must hire a car. It is only a short drive. 

The day bef ore, I had taken my New Testament and turned 
to the last chapter of the Book of the Acts always a favorite 
of mine and read again Luke s account of the historic inci 
dent in Christianity s chain which occurred in this locale in 
the first century. Influenced by my reading and the train of 
thoughts it had called up, I was carried back into the world 
with which the Apostle to the Gentiles was familiar. Thus, 
having turned back the pages of time, it was not hard to be 
lieve that he was accompanying me over the same road by 
which he had travelled earlier. And this sense of companion 
ing with Paul made me acutely aware of things which he saw 
and which remain in our day to remind us of him. 

Puteoli was founded by the Greeks but later captured by 
the Romans. In the first century it was the most important 
commercial city of the vast Empire. Its harbor was the focus 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 333 

of traffic with Egypt and the East. Spices and perfumes from 
the Nile, copper and gold from Tarshish, slaves, weapons, and 
other commodities in popular demand landed here. There 
were lovely villas on the bay then, but they were homes of 
proflicacy and lust. Paul must have had pointed out to him 
the luxurious home of the Emperor Tiberius. Perhaps some 
one whispered that this was the region where Nero, the em 
peror to whom Paul had appealed for hearing, had committed 
an unnatural crime by attempting to drown his own mother. 
Had he read the "Aeneid" and did Paul recognize the 
scenery of which the poet sang? 

The present harbor at Pozzuoli is a reflection of that har 
bor which was called Puteoli in the first century into which 
Alexandrian grain ships cast their anchors. Certain portions 
of it date from Roman times; six feet below the water are the 
massive rings to which the Roman galleys were tied. Travel 
lers in search of Paul still come here to see these famous harbor 
ruins. Still ships come through the narrow mouth to unload 
their cargoes on the very quay where long ago the Apostle, 
who wrote, " I must see Rome," came ashore. 

Into such a fine harbor the sailors, men, women, and chil 
dren, were cheering the entrance of the first Alexandrian grain 
ship of the season. It was the Castor and Pollux. She sailed 
in proudly with her topsails set, which was only the privilege 
of Alexandrian grain ships since all others were required to 
lower the topsails when they approached this ancient port. 
It was true that she was carrying the bread of life for Italy, 
but truer in a deeper sense the Bread of Life for the world, be 
cause Paul and his companions were passengers on this ship. 
They had been picked up at Malta where three months earlier 
they had been shipwrecked. 

There were Christians waiting to meet him as he came 
ashore for the first time in Italy. There must have been 
already a Christian community here. These devoted individ- 

334 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

uals invited him to tarry with them seven days. In the mean 
time, they sent word to Rome, " Paul has arrived " and, no 
doubt, full directions as to when he would leave Puteoli and 
when the brethren might expect him along the " Queen of 
Roads." Scholars believe now that the church in Italy was 
well-organized by 59 A. D. Probably Peter s presence in Rome 
is the only explanation for it. Christians were standing on the 
quay, scanning the faces of all who came ashore, eager to 
grasp him by the hand who had written to them: " I long to 
see you." They longed to see him, too. 

After seven days he took the crossroad from Puteoli, which 
was called the Via Compana, to Capua where it joins the 
Appian Way. The travellers then set out for Rome along the 
most crowded, most famous of the world s highways, but by 
no means a new road in Paul s day. The Via Appia had been 
built by Appius Claudius in 300 B. c. They came to Formiae 
where Julius the centurion must have rested his charges 
briefly. Modern Formia, a regular station-stop on the Naples- 
Rome railway, is the same as ancient Formiae. 

Proceeding on to Terracina they now had the choice of 
continuing along the highway which is laid taut as a string 
for sixty-five miles or of taking a mule-drawn barge along the 
canal which traversed the Pontine marshes. Lately under 
Fascist regime this swampland has been reclaimed for the first 
time and is producing good crops, food for Italians. We do 
not know which of these alternatives they chose, whether they 
journeyed along the highway or tried the barges on the canal, 
because the Book of the Acts is silent here. We are told that 
they finally arrived at Appii Forum, wjiich was situated at 
the north end of the canal. Here they found a motley popu 
lation of mule drivers, tavern keepers, and drunken bargemen, 
Here, forty-six miles from Rome, Paul met the first of the 
Christian brethren come out from the city to meet him and 
escort him to the Capital. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 335 

Some he must have known personally; others only from 
hearsay. It was pleasant to meet them all. Can t you imagine 
the scene? Think how glad you would have been to meet 
with friends had you been in his place! I like to think that 
among these faces were two very dear ones Priscilla s and 
Aquila s. How their faces must have lighted with joy when 
they saw their old friend and counsellor of Corinthian and 
Ephesian days again! How these three must have laughed 
aloud in sheer delight at reunion ! 

Marching beside him as if he were a conqueror and not a 
captive, the children of the early Church told him news of 
the community at Rome. His tiredness must have vanished, 
his chains grown lighter as he listened. Other travellers must 
have marked the one travel-worn, stained figure as he marched 
sturdily along surrounded by a happy throng. I wonder if 
any called out curiously, " Who is the man? " If so, surely 
Julius who respected his prisoner answered, "He is Paul, 
citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, who has appealed to Caesar/ 3 

It was like an earlier occasion in the year 57 B. c. when 
Cicero, the Roman orator, returned along this very road from 
banishment. His friends, like Paul s, came out to meet him 
and they gave him such an enthusiastic and warm demonstra 
tion of affection as even Paul was experiencing from his 
friends scarcely one hundred years later. 

They drew nearer to the city of Rome. At the place called 
" Three Taverns," ten miles farther along the Via Appia, an 
other band of Christians was standing ready to greet him. I 
like to think that this group were the older people and the 
children and the young mothers, who could not walk forty-six 
miles to Appii Forum. When Paul saw them, he was moved 
by this unlooked-for kindness and expression of their love and 
" he thanked God and took courage," 

Instead of entering Rome as a defeated missionary of the 
gospel, a defeated Roman captive in chains, he was to enter 

336 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the Eternal City as a conqueror of human fears. No wonder 
with such a Christian welcome awaiting him after all the years 
of struggles and peril that Paul felt this meeting on the Appian 
Way was his reward. 

Paul and his companions made their way toward the city. 
As they walked among the wonderful array of tombs of great 
men who had reigned and died, which lined either side of the 
Appian Way for miles, they were moving also along the fash 
ionable boulevard for the Romans. Patrician families built 
their sepulchral monuments beside their gayest thoroughfare. 
No burials were permitted within Roman cities. The idea of 
death -did not seem to lessen the mad search for pleasure 
among these people. Tombs, circuses, and villas of the 
wealthy were found side by side along the " Queen of Roads." 
These structures were of various forms, some round, some 
square, some pyramidal; built of brick, stone, and blocks of 
peperino; decorated with slabs of marble and filled within 
with art treasures. 

Among numberless monuments of splendor which bordered 
the Appian Way for twenty miles outside Rome itself in the 
first century was the tomb of Cecilia Metella. She was the 
wife of Publicus Crassus the great triumvir and conqueror of 
Spartacus. Her monument was imposing in Paul s day; it is 
still the best preserved and handsomest of all those along the 
classic highway. Most of the tombs are now but heaps of 
ruins all that is left of a once proud civilization, but an 
almost forgotten era with the average person. Hawthorne 
wrote of these Romans and their creations: "Ambitious of 
everlasting remembrance as they were, the slumberers might 
as well have gone quietly to rest each under his little green 
hillock in a graveyard, without a headstone to mark the spot." 

They might give the impression of desolation if Nature had 
not mantled and clothed many of them as well as the Roman 
Campagna with flowers and vines and soft green grass, so that 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 337 

the ruins behind protecting walls are relieved somewhat of 
their grimness and the countryside of its barrenness. " Um 
brella trees " in endless procession lead the way into or out of 

The most interesting places along the Appian Way are the 
catacombs where the Christian Church spent its childhood 
after apostolic times. These underground cemeteries bear the 
names of early saints: St. Calixtus, St. Domitilla, and St. Se 
bastian, It was with relief that I found them not dismal nor 
depressing places. Quite the contrary they interested me be 
cause of their revelation of the customs, life, and religion of a 
remote but important period in Christianity. To a discerning 
Christian, they bear evidence of the early brethren; their 
hopes, their prayers, their sublime faith are all reflected here. 
But perhaps far greater than all these is the Easter message of 
gladness and eternal hope which fairly breathes through these 
underground burial places. The catacombs are not so much 
concerned with death as " finis " as with resurrection and 
eternal life. I was impressed as I saw inscriptions on the 
walls like these in Greek or Latin: "Peace/ "in peace and 
in Christ," "may God give thee life." 

Pliny records that he recalled hearing singing coming from 
out the earth, from out of the catacombs on the Appian Way. 
Which songs did Pliny hear: Elisabeth s song, Mary s " Mag 
nificat," Simeon s " Nunc Dimittis," or the cradle hymn sung 
at the Nativity? These were the paeans of praise which first 
century Christians sang with joyous voices. He caught the 
joyousness of voice of those who sang these first Christian 
hymns and perhaps he felt the gladness and singleness of heart 
of those who praised their Lord. 

From the shoulder of the Alban Hills Paul got his first sight 
of Rome. He had seen many fine cities Jerusalem, Antioch, 
Corinth, and Athens but none like this, so glorious and 
beautiful. His friends must have stopped long enough to 

338 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

point out the Capitol, the palace, temples, arches, and the 
vast Circus Maximus. Modern Rome is splendid but it can 
not be compared with the magnificent Rome of the Caesars as 
Paul saw it. So strong, so massive was the Rome of Nero that 
many parts have defied the changes of time and the ravages of 
men and war. 

Weary, they approached the Porta Capena whose green 
stones dripped perpetually with water from a leaking aque 
duct which ran above it. They made their way into the city. 
Through the crowds they passed, pressed upon by market 
wagons and carriages. They went immediately to the bar 
racks located on the Caelian Hill just inside the city wall. 
Therefore, that first night in Rome Paul did not pass within 
the heart of the great city. Thus began two long years of im 
prisonment for the Apostle. 

It would seem as if Julius had spoken well to the authori 
ties in behalf of Paul, because instead of languishing in a 
dungeon, he was allowed to live in a house of his own choosing 
on the site of the present sixteenth-century reconstruction by 
Borgognone of San Paolino alia Regola, which was called 
* c Schola Pauli." Here he could also live as he pleased. That 
Paul s house was here in the Via degli Strengari, a poor lane 
of the Rione Regola, one can read in a document of the 
archives of the Hospital of S. Spirito of 1245. Living here 
quietly in furnished lodgings with his guards continually at his 
side, Paul "received all that came in unto him, preaching 
the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern 
the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding 

We know no more of the Apostle, beyond tradition, because 
at this point Luke s diary suddenly fails. Paul had reached 
Rome; he knew the gospel would go wherever the power of 
Rome was felt in the ancient world. His purpose to see Rome 
was accomplished. 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 339 

I came to Porta San Sebastiano, one of the gates in the 
Aurelian Wall through which present-day travellers along the 
Appian Way enter Rome. I stepped out of the automobile 
into the road. A little white sign with neat black letters and 
an arrow pointing south caught my eye and reminded me: 
Via Appia Antica. 

I looked toward Puteoli and reflected on the events that 
marked this military road apart from all others. It was along 
it that the Christian brethren welcomed Paul with joy; where 
the Apostle marked another milestone in his Christian experi 
ence when he thanked God and took courage. Years later in 
its vicinity the early community sang those songs of cheer 
which were the Church s first hymns. Bordering it and 
spreading for miles in every direction are the catacombs which 
were the cradle of Christianity in post-apostolic times and 
where in them is hidden every symbol of our present Church. 

I thought to myself: Via Appia, or Via Appia Antica, or 
" Queen of Roads," call it what you will, but, in truth, it is 
the Road of Christians. 

. n 

Paul s " hired house " in the Via degli Strengari, pointed 
out today as where he took up his abode under military super 
vision, must have been a busy place. His days were occupied 
with visitors and writing letters to congregations since even 
now " the care of all the churches " still lay on Paul. Soon 
after his arrival he invited some of the chief Jews to meet him 
but that was an unsatisfactory interview. The Roman Chris 
tians were his most frequent visitors. 

Luke, the beloved physician, was with him, and Aristarchus, 
both of whom had travelled with Paul from Caesarea. 
Tychicus, his old companion in travel, who was to be bearer 
of a letter, Colossians, to the churches of Asia, arrived. Young 
Timothy, his " beloved son in the faith," dearest and closest 

340 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

of them all, associated with Paul even in the writing of his let 
ters, was there, too. John Mark had made his peace with the 
Apostle and was with him. Mark had been the cause of the 
unhappy separation between Paul and Barnabas because he 
had deserted them on the first missionary journey. Now in 
Rome, he was helping Paul and it is interesting to see how 
much the Apostle cared for him. When he visited Paul, did 
he ever tell him during these Roman days about the Upper 
Room in his mother Mary s house in Jerusalem where Jesus 
ate the Last Supper with his disciples and where the Church 
used to meet in the days of its beginnings? Did he ever bring 
his manuscript of the Gospel of Mark over to the house in Via 
degli Strengari and read Peter s memoirs of Jesus which he 
was at last committing to writing so they would not perish at 
Peter s death? Many a time Mark had translated the aged 
Galilean s story of Jesus ministry to Roman audiences be 
cause Peter spoke only Aramaic. How eagerly Paul must 
have listened ! 

Visitors often came from far-off congregations bringing 
Paul affectionate messages, sometimes comforts for his prison 
life. And by them Paul sometimes sent back greetings and 
sometimes important letters. 

One day his old friend Epaphroditus arrived from Philippi. 
All the old friends, Lydia and the rest, sent their love and also 
a present. Paul was touched because he loved the people in 
the church at Philippi better than any other. Then Epaphro 
ditus fell sick in Rome. During his convalescence, Paul wrote 
a letter to the Philippians which his friend should take with 
him when he was well enough to return. It is the most beau 
tiful, tender, and joyous of all his letters, the one which re 
vealed to the Philippians and to weary, despondent Christians 
all over the world since the happiness which religion gives in 
the midst of troubles. From a man, who in a moment of de 
jection wrote: " I long to depart and be with Christ, for that 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 341 

is far, far better, and yet your needs make it necessary for me 
to stay here/ 3 came a message in which the predominant tone 
is one of hope and joy. Telling of the inner gladness welling 
up in his own heart, he wrote : 

" I rejoice in the Lord." " Fulfill ye my joy." 

" Rejoice in the Lord alway : and again I say, Rejoice." 

PHILIPPIANS i: 18; 2: 2; 4: 4. 

Among the many visitors at the " hired house " came a 
runaway slave, named Onesimus, one day. He had run away 
from his Christian master Philemon of Colossae. He was" a 
hunted criminal. If caught, he could be branded and even 
killed. How did he happen to come to Paul? Perhaps he re 
membered Paul as a visitor in the old days at his master s 
house because Philemon and his wife Apphia were Paul s con 
verts, close friends of the kind that Paul felt he could offer 
himself for a visit without an invitation. 

Paul s heart warmed to the slave and there grew up a close 
friendship between the two. Onesimus became a Christian. 
Paul would have kept the young man but his sense of morality 
would not permit such action. Onesimus must go back to his 
master and his master be persuaded to forgive him was the 

So he sent Onesimus back with a note, the Letter to 
Philemon, the only letter about a purely personal matter 
which has survived. Fortunately, Philemon kept the im 
promptu note in which he is asked to receive Onesimus, now 
his brother in Christ, as he would receive Paul himself, and if 
Onesimus is in Philemon s debt for something he may have 
stolen, Paul will undertake to be personally responsible. 
Thus having prepared the way for reconciliation between the 
slave and his master, Paul then asked Philemon to prepare to 
entertain the writer himself as he hoped to be released soon to 
revisit Asia. Maybe afterwards Philemon gave this personal 

342 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

letter to the Colossian church to preserve with PauPs other 

But before Onesimus started for Colossae there had arrived 
in Rome another Colossian, a worker in the neighboring 
churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis. His name was Epa- 
phras. Difficulties had arisen in this church community all 
on account of a travelling preacher who had come preaching 
a Christianity all mixed up with notions about the worship of 
angels, the necessity of asceticism, and other errors. 

Paul could not visit Colossae and instruct the Christians in 
person, but he could dictate a letter to Timothy and send it 
to them by one of his helpers who was also to conduct Onesi 
mus back to Philemon. So the two men left Rome Tychi- 
cus to present the Letter to the Colossians to that church in 
Asia Minor, and Onesimus to face his master whom he had 

It is fascinating to imagine the comings and goings of the 
many people at the " hired house " of Paul s. No place car 
ries such a heavy weight of memories. 


When Paul came to Rome, Prisca and Aquila had already 
removed themselves from Ephesus where he had left them en 
gaged in Christian work and he found them now here to 
gether with " the church that was in their house." I have 
always been interested in Priscilla as she is sometimes called; 
first, probably because of Paul s habit of mentioning her name 
before that of her husband s when he sent them greetings. It 
was such a departure from Oriental custom that somehow it 
has given me the idea that Paul had unusual regard for this 
wife s ability as a teacher and co-pastor in the infant Church. 
Then later in making a study of " career " women in the Bible, 
I came to feel that I knew this woman very well, that she was 
indeed my friend. It was no wonder then that upon settling 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 343 

myself comfortably for a stay in Rome I set out one afternoon 
for the Aventine Hill to locate the original site of the house be 
longing to this Christian couple. 

The church which covers the site is not spectacular, is not 
of itself sufficient to draw the average tourist to its doors; but 
to those who would be reminded of a very dear, human couple 
and of the contribution in example which the remarkable 
Prisca left for the present-day wife, home-maker, and business 
woman it holds a great attraction. After visiting the Church 
of St. Prisca, I came out and lingered in the little piazza di 
rectly in front of it. The church had been dark and chilly 
and the warmth of the bright sunshine in this green space in 
vited me to tarry for a while. 

Earlier that day at lunch we had been discussing: Can a 
woman continue in business and still maintain a happy home? 
This afternoon had seemed an excellent time to visit the home- 
site of a woman who succeeded in doing so ! Partner to her 
husband in a business which was carried on within the home^ 
she had begun to work to supplement the family income when 
they moved to Corinth after Claudius banished Jews from 
Rome. It was at Corinth that Paul met the couple, converted 
them to Christianity, and then lived and worked with them at 
tent-making for a time. 

This New Testament woman was daily occupied in manual 
labor but she did not let it keep her from devoting herself to 
religious work any more than Paul allowed himself to be kept 
from " preaching the good news " because he had to earn a 
livelihood. No business duties crowded out Priscilla s active 
participation in the church life of believers. In perhaps the 
busiest period of her life she undertook the religious education 
of a young man called Apollos. That her religious instruction 
was not hampered by her preoccupation with other matters 
is proven by the fact that in time great successes came to 
Apollos, who at one period almost rivalled Paul in popular 

344 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

favor. The Bible records that Apollos " taught accurately the 
things concerning Jesus." These are tributes to his teacher 

But my friends had insisted as I told them all this : " If she* 
was a business woman and church worker was she also a good 
home-maker? " I felt this busy Roman matron of more than 
ordinary ability had been a prudent wife such as the Book of 
Proverbs hails as " from Jehovah/ 3 

From her story as it is revealed in the New Testament, I 
have felt the religious atmosphere of the home she made was 
satisfactory to Paul and conducive to his successful evangelis 
tic efforts. Somehow it has seemed to me a home in which all 
the members were trying to imitate the Christ. When I have 
read the phrase: " the church that is in their house/ 3 it has 
fascinated me, revealing that Priscilla, a mere wife, was re 
ligious priestess in her own home and maintained a household 
distinguished for its religious fervor and example. To the 
end she remained an alert member in the colony of believers. 
Prisca and Aquila are always mentioned together in the Bible; 
a husband and a wife, together in business, together in the 
church, together in the home not even a business career for 
the woman could separate them. It seemed to me sitting in 
the piazza before the site of Prisca s house in Rome that she 
had found something that many of us women have not found. 
She took the Christ into her life, into every avenue of her 
human endeavor; surrendering herself to the Christ, she found 
a perfect balance in her everyday affairs and all things pos 
sible because of her belief. 


Tradition supports the view that Paul was released and set 
out on further missionary activity in the West, as far as the 
Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar). During that time he is sup 
posed to have written a letter to Timothy in Ephesus and one 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 345 

to Titus in Crete, the substance of which we have preserved in 
the books of First Timothy and Titus. In 64 A. D., following 
the Fire, he was arrested and brought back to Rome to await 
trial not in a " hired house " this time but in prison. While 
as a hated Christian confined to the Mamertine Prison, he 
wrote a second letter to his beloved Timothy. 

It was a lonely Rome this time. His friends Aquila and 
Priscilla had fled to Ephesus. Demas, a Gentile Christian, 
whose faith could not stand the strain of sharing the Apostle s 
afflictions, forsook him. Men from Asia Minor when they 
came to Rome no longer called upon him. " They have all 
turned away from me," he wrote. Only Onesiphorus from 
Ephesus inquired for him, found him, and " was not 
ashamed," but he died before Paul s time came. Only Luke 
remained with him. Nothing is heard of his preaching nor 
enjoying visits with friends. Shut within prison walls he had 
no prospect but death. " The time has come for my depar 
ture," but looking back over the years from the time on the 
road to Damascus until now he could say: "I have had a 
part in the great contest, I have run my race, I have preserved 
the faith." 

Lonely, there was only one person, one friend above all 
others, that he wanted near him. The childless old man who 
loved Timothy as a son wrote : " Timothy, I long day and 
night to see you. My life is already being poured out. Do 
your best to come to me soon before winter." 

Whether he ever got the cloak and the parchments, whether 
Timothy ever reached Rome in time, we do not know. The 
end was very close. 

Church tradition that Peter and Paul were confined in the 
tragic, notorious Mamertine Prison near the Arch of Severus 
for nine months and were released to be led to death in 67 
A. D. is not unlikely. Peter was martyred in Nero s Circus 
while Paul, because he was a Roman citizen, >vas led outside 

346 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

the walls to be beheaded by the sword. The road along which 
he was taken was the Via Ostiensis, the road to the busy port 
of Ostia. Beside the Gate of St. Paul by which this road en 
ters Rome today, stands the Pyramid of Caius Cestius. It was 
standing here when Paul was led to his death. It was the 
last monument of Rome on which he set eyes as he passed to 
his execution on the Via Ostia. 

Taken from his dungeon, he was led out along this road 
which in his day was lined with tombs. They came to a place 
called Aquae Silviae at " the third milestone. 3 Here Paul 
was ordered to prepare for death. Tradition says that as his 
head struck the earth it bounced three times and at every 
meeting with the earth gushed forth a spring of sweet water. 
The place where Paul was beheaded became known as Tre 
Fontane or Three Fountains. 

The Abbey of Three Fountains stands today on the site of 
his execution, a group of three churches close together in a 
garden, approached by a grove of eucalyptus trees. No other 
site has ever challenged the accuracy of this tradition. There 
are signs all about, cautioning " Silentio." There is no need 
for them. Abbey of Three Fountains is one of the quietest 
places in Rome. In the little Church of St. Paul are three 
altars. Beneath each is one of the springs. The day I came 
here, I could hear water bubbling and gurgling beneath the 
marble. The Salvian springs were, of course, in existence 
long before the Apostle s death. 

Dying on the same day, the bodies of the two apostles were 
lovingly guarded by members of the Roman church. For a 
time after frustrating attempts to steal them, the bodies oc 
cupied a niche in the tomb in the " House of Hermes " now 
thirty feet down in the earth under the Church of St. Se 
bastian on the Via Appia. If one has time to visit only one of 
the catacombs, then St. Sebastian s is by far the most interest 
ing, being the most historical and the only one which the me- 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 347 

dieval pilgrims visited. Til tell you of my visit here but the 
experience is about the same in any one of the catacombs 
outside the city that you visit. 

We descended a flight of steps leading into a pit of dark 
ness. We walked through long, cold corridors, smelling of 
wet, dead air, whose pitch-blackness was partially relieved by 
the very dim electric lights long distances apart. We ad 
vanced in single file, passing meanwhile the bones of many of 
the saints within the church at Rome lying in dust, and we 
came at the end of the tunnel to a cavern* We looked down 
into a building which Peter and Paul may have visited and 
known, and to which their bodies were removed for safety 
before their churches were built. 

This house belonged to M. Clodius Hermes, saluted by 
Paul in Romans, Chapter 16, verse 14. Recent excavations 
revealed an inscription which related that Hermes at the age 
of seventy-five years emancipated all his slaves, possibly as a 
result of his conversion from paganism to Christianity. The 
house was built in 40 A. D. and its ornamentation was first 
pagan and then Christian, which is said to indicate its occu 
pant s sudden, change of religion. 

When Constantine gave peace to Christianity, proclaiming 
it a state religion, Paul s headless body was lying in a Roman 
tomb on the Via Ostia. Enclosing the Apostle s body in a 
metal case and placing upon it a gold cross, as he had upon 
the body of Peter, he then built a church above the grave. 
This was the first church of St. Paul s-without-the-Wall. The 
building was enlarged and rebuilt in the years which followed. 
In 1823 the historic magnificent basilica was destroyed by fire 
all except the tomb itself. The present St. Paul s stands on 
the ancient Via Ostiensis, about two miles from Rome, con 
structed in the design of the ancient basilica. " This church 
has the peace of great dignity, the majesty of perfect propor 
tions and its ancestors are the palaces of the Caesars and the 

348 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

law-courts of the Empire/ writes Morton in " In the Steps 
of St. Paul." 


It is an impressive moment for a visitor to the Eternal City 
when he comes for the first time to the parapet on the sum 
mit of the Pincian Hill and sees spread before him an unob 
structed view of the western part of the city. 

The slope down from the parapet once held the gardens of 
Lucullus. At its foot is the Piazza del Popolo, a beautiful, 
great square admired both for its size and its symmetry. 
From its center rises one of the eleven obelisks brought from 
Egypt to Rome as memorials of her conquest of the land of 
the Pharaohs in 30 B. c. and erected first at Rome in the 
Circus Maximus. Far ahead in the distance the long, low 
Janiculum Hill looms to the left of the outline of the great 
Michelangelo dome of St. Peter s and the spreading papal 
gardens and the palaces which form its background. This is 
a view which has inspired many a poet with its loveliness. 

I cannot describe St. Peter s. I was awed and thrilled by 
its splendor when first I stepped into the church. I gazed on 
the " Pieta " of Michelangelo with wonder as the artist s con 
ception of the sorrow of the Virgin and her certainty of resur 
rection dawned slowly upon me. I admired the richness of its 
marbles and the succession of its monuments and works of art 
which alone are sufficient to form the envied glory of this city. 
I was amazed by its stateliness and the immensity of the 
building which assumed grander proportions as I returned 
again and again to be lost in contemplation of its size. But 
no words of mine can adequately describe my emotions nor 
the thoughts awakened when in the presence of so many mar 
vels I attended Pontifical High Mass here on an Easter Sun 
day morning. 

I had come shortly before from Galilee where the first 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 349 

proclamation of the Kingdom and the beginnings of the Chris 
tian religion were made and from where the gospel of Christ 
has radiated to all the world. 

I crossed vast Piazza San Pietro, remembering that this 
was the historical site of Nero s Circus where many Chris 
tians, accused and convicted of having burnt Rome, suffered 
martyrdom, and where Peter was crucified. I mounted the 
broad steps and entered the stupendous Basilica of St. Peter 
which rears its mighty dome above the bones of a Galilean 

He had been among the Twelve at Caesarea Philippi and 
in a moment of extreme exaltation and spiritual discernment 
there perceived the Christ, the true Messiah. In the dim light 
of dawn, when after his three denials the Master looked upon 
Peter, he had understood finally who the Christ was. Weep 
ing bitterly, he was purged of elements of weakness which had 
at times prevented this Simon from always being Peter, the 
rock. Courage took the place of fear and upon Peter Christ 
could safely build his Church. After Jesus ascension, he be 
came the unquestioned leader of the early disciple group and 
the first messenger through whom the Christian religion was 
proclaimed in Jerusalem. Then followed those dark days 
when the new faith in the Christ aroused hatred and when the 
Caesars, opponents of Christianity, burned, crucified, and 
persecuted its followers. But the Christian religion withstood 
the Roman scourges, emerged triumphant from its years in 
the catacombs, and the transforming power of the Christ be 
came the hope of the world, and the Cross the central symbol 
of history. Not far from where the Galilean interpreter of 
Christ with his Kingdom of Love and his Cross was crucified, 
and over his tomb stands St. Peter s, a monument that Rome 
and the world was finally won to Christ s Way of Life. A 
witness that Peter walked to the spiritual .conquest of the 
world, taking with him a message that he heard preached in a 

350 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

far-off province of the Roman Empire by an unknown rabbi 
and vindicated Christ Jesus proclamation: 

" Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." MAT 
THEW 16: 18. 


It is impossible to identify with certainty the many sacred 
sites associated with Paul, Peter, or their disciples in Rome. 
They saw the buildings which became the churches o"f St. 
Pudenziana, St. Clement, and St. Prisca, and their disciples 
saw as well the tombs of the two apostles, and the Catacomb 
of St. Sebastian as well as St. Calixtus. All these places 
which can be seen today have been handed down from first- 
century Christians through all the disasters and adventures of 
the early Church. Visitors must remember that the great fire 
of 64 A. D. and the many attacks on the city in subsequent 
centuries obliterated many landmarks familiar to them. Yet 
withal Rome has maintained unbroken contact with the apos 
tolic age. Happily, there are to be found here today, thanks 
to the unceasing activity of the archaeologists, some first cen 
tury remains of the New Testament Rome which are of in 
terest to Bible students, some buildings even which echoed to 
the voices of Peter and Paul. There is here a satisfying and 
undeniable continuity with the Rome of the early Church and 
it is that which makes every Christian pilgrim echo Paul s 
words : " I must see Rome " and every Christian pilgrimage 
end here. 

The wide expanse of the Forum is littered with ancient re 
mains, perhaps more here than anywhere else : three columns 
of the original Temple of Castor and Pollux, traces of the 
Basilica Julia, the Capitol, the Rostra where all Rome s ora 
tors spoke, the Senate House or Curia, and the Sacra Via. 
Two dozen of the stately columns which once lined the most 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 351 

celebrated streetof ancient Rome adorn the nave of St, Paul s- 

Up the slope of the Sacred Way the stately Arch of Titus 
though not erected during the time of Peter and Paul was a 
familiar spectacle to the early Church. This relic of imperial 
Rome commemorates the downfall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D, in 
an elaborate relief of Roman soldiers carrying aloft in tri 
umphal procession the golden seven-branched candlestick, the 
golden table of shew-bread, and the silver trumpets which had 
been looted from the Temple in Jerusalem. The Arch of 
Titus is a testimony to Jesus prophecy that " thine enemies 
shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and 
keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the 
ground. 3 Jesus words are a literal description of the methods 
used by the Roman armies during the most terrible siege in 

Many temples which testify to us the tremendous forces of 
superstition surrounding the Christian movement in Rome 
can still be identified: the Temple of Jupiter Stator, of Jupiter 
Capitolinus, Temple of Vesta and the house of the Vestal 
Virgins. Traces of the Temple of Cybele, of Isis, and of the 
Temple of Serapis testify to foreign deities imported from 
Egypt and the Orient as rivals with Christianity for the al 
legiance of first-century Rome. There is the Pantheon with 
its marvelously preserved fagade and colonnaded portico dis 
playing an inscription which Paul must have read many times 
if he had the freedom of the city during his first imprison 
ment, as some suggest. The inscription reads: 

" Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, built this temple in his third 
consulship (27 A. D.)." 

This is the best known, best preserved ancient monument of 
Rome. It has never ceased to be venerated since its trans 
formation into a Christian church. Its name, Pantheon, 

352 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

meaning a temple of " all the gods/ 3 points to the toleration 
that marked the imperial policy when all forms of worship 
were permitted, providing only that all worshippers acknowl 
edged the divinity of the emperors and paid them divine 
honors living or dead. 


The Colosseum, which is correctly called the Flavian amphi 
theatre, was not built when Peter and Paul were living in 
Rome. The massive structure which was of such astounding 
proportions that even in ruins it is impressive was not com 
pleted until 8 1 A. D., some fourteen years after the deaths of 
the two apostles. For all that Rome s majestic ruin speaks 
eloquently just the same to Christians because they remember 
that the martyrs of the early Church met here 

"... the tyrant s brandished steel, 
The lion s gory mane." 

The ruins of the Colosseum attract its quota of thoughtful 
pilgrims who ponder on these things: the immense toil that 
raised this barbaric structure which is nineteen hundred feet 
in circumference, two hundred and seventy-three feet long, 
one hundred and twenty feet wide, and honeycombed under 
neath with dens for wild animals and rooms for gladiators; 
what type of civilization it was that reared this pile of stone to 
satisfy the thirst of eighty thousand spectators for amusement, 
blood, and slaughter, dull to cruelty and pain; how brave the 
men and women were who were the martyrs of the Church 
and gave their lives for the glory of the Christ " butchered to 
make a Roman holiday." 

Byron in " Childe Harold " calls it " that long explored 
but still exhaustless mine of contemplation/ A truly 
fit description of the mountain-like building of bold design, 




M 1 r* 


u 5 


Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 353 

the solidity of whose construction is not effaced by time. 
Time cannot efface the grandeur of conception, the majesty, 
the beauty behind such a monument; only man does that with 
man s inhumanity to man. 

Visitors must see the Colosseum at different hou rs of the 
day or night to learn its power to impress, to know its varying 
moods. Under a blaze of noonday sun its unyielding form 
looms stark and bare and cruel; it seems a very house of 
desolation, of grief. At the close of the day, at twilight, its 
arches grow less harsh, the underground dens and rooms less 
grim, and the empty seats less yawningly vacant. While 
under the gentler light of the moon and stars the Colosseum is 
shrouded in mystery and then imagination is substituted for 

I came here late one evening and walked down the slope 
into the Colosseum. I saw several other visitors tiptoeing 
about the arena, gazing into shadows, whispering to one an 
other. As I walked across the place, I paused before the cross 
which commemorates those who suffered martyrdom here 
and then went on to sit down among the empty seats. 

The great full moon like a great pearl, set in the deep azure 
of the Italian skies, had a transforming influence. Light and 
dark were sharply defined. The walls of silver were bordered 
by chasms of darkness. The moonbeams shone through the 
arches like torches to f all across seats which were peopled with 
the shadowy forms of Emperor, lictors, Vestal Virgins, Roman 
citizens, and on across that broad arena where out of darkness, 
from very vaults of gloom, emerged gladiators and martyrs. 
Light breezes blew through these broken arches and in a 
moment of time arid thought were changed to voices which 
became the shouts and cries of a vast audience, the sighs, 
moans, and groans of a host of vanquished. Sitting here in 
the moonlight with the ghostly figures of the Christian mar- 
tyrs led by venerable St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, crowd- 

354 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

ing me and hearing the mere whispers of their voices stilling 
the more strident cries of frenzied mobs, I brought out the 
Bible. I read from the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 10, verses 

" You must remember . . . when after you had received the 
light you had to go through a great struggle with persecution, 
sometimes being exposed as a public spectacle to insults and 
violence, . . . actually showing yourselves ready to share the lot 
of those in that condition. For you showed sympathy with those 
who were in prison, and you put up with it cheerfully when your 
property was taken from you, for you knew that you had in 
yourselves a greater possession that was lasting. You must not lose 
your courage, for it will be ... rewarded, but you will need 
endurance if you are to carry out God s will and receive the bless 
ing he has promised " (The New Testament, An American Trans 
lation, Goodspeed) . 

This was written to these shadowy figures who in the moon 
light crowded round me, to these who shed their blood in this 
arena under Domitian and Trajan, to these who never lived to 
see the day when Rome was captured by that gospel for which 
they gave their human lives. 

Later, saints within the church at Rome, cherishing the 
memory of two great Christian leaders Peter and Paul who 
had suffered martyrdom and of these many who had perished 
in the Colosseum for professing to be " Christians " remem 
bered " how they ended their lives " and urged others to 
" imitate their faith." Remembering both the martyrs 3 deaths 
and their sublime faith which in the end led them to victorious 
Living, the Christian leaders in Rome dared to counsel other 
persecuted Christians in Asia Minor thus:* 

" Throw all your anxiety upon him, for he cares for you. ; Be 
calm and watchful. Your opponent the devil is prowling about 
like a roaring lion, wanting to devour you. Resist him and be 
strong in the faith, for you know that your brotherhood all over 

Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 355 

the world is having the same experience of suffering. And God, 
the giver of all mercy, who through your union with Christ has 
called you to his eternal glory, after you have suffered a little 
while will himself make you perfect, steadfast, and strong." 
I PETER 5: 710 (The New Testament, An American Transla 
tion, Goodspeed) . 

For almost four hundred years the martyrs of the Church 
met here, beginning with St. Ignatius who tradition says was 
the little child whom Jesus set in the midst of his disciples and 
ending with St. Telemachus who, dying, implored the mob: 
" In the name of Christ, forbear/ They loved and suffered 
enough to finally change the mind of Rome. Never again 
after St. Telemachus implored them in the name of Christ 
to cease did gladiatorial fights take place in the Colosseum. 
Perfect love wins its victory in what to the world looks like its 
defeat. The power of the Cross ! 

I came down and stood again beneath the huge wooden 
cross which Premier Mussolini had restored in this place where 
thousands perished rather than deny the Christ and his King 
dom of Love. With a light I made out the Latin inscription : 

" In the spirit of this Cross lie the hopes of all the world." 

I was happy to have ended my journeyings at Rome. In 
the meantime, I had tarried in Gethsemane where Jesus 
prayed: " O, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
away from me " ; I had seen the Upper Room in Jerusalem 
where he " took the cup, and gave thanks " ; I had visited Cal 
vary where upon the Cross he cried with a loud voice: " Fa 
ther, forgive them/ and where the shadow of God s kingdom 
of Love fell upon the earth; and at last my journeyings were 
complete at the Colosseum where the followers of Christ Jesus 
answered his question " Are ye able to drink of this cup? " 
with " We are able/ 9 

356 Around the Mediterranean With My Bible 

It came to me that the Cross is not a fact of nineteen hun 
dred years ago, but a symbol of the spirit of sacrifice that 
must possess all who would loyally follow right and truth to 
the end. As of old, truth s central sign is a symbol of a spirit 
to be lived daily, the eternal symbol of an instrument of power 
able to make men change their way of looking at life, win 
ning a response from within the heart of every man, woman, 
and child. 

My travels had not been in vain if I returned from them 
with these words graven on my heart: " In the spirit of the 
Cross . . ." 


We are grateful to the following publishers for permission 

to quote from copyright material. 

The Bible: A New Translation. By James Moffatt. Copy 
righted by Harper and Brothers, 1935. 

The Bible: An American Translation. By Smith and Good- 
speed. Copyrighted by the University of Chicago Press. 

The Holy Bible. American Standard Version. Copyrighted 
by the International Council of Religious Education. 

Into the Woods My Master Went, By Sindney Lanier. Copy 
righted by Charles Scribner s Sons. 



Abana River, 175, 252, 259, 263, 293. 
Abdullah, King, 179, 191, 195. 
Abraham, 41, 42, 46, 49, 54, 55, 7&, 
86, 131, 133-4, 136-9, i4i, 172, 
181, 202, 204, 235. 
Absalom, 79, 112, 131, 184. 
Acre, 219, 289, 302. 
Acropolis. See Athens. 
Aegean islands, 24, 37, 305. 
Africa, 17. 

Ahab, King, 206-8, 287-8. 
Ain Karem, 77. 
Aix, 30. 
Alexandria, Egypt, 38, 46-8, 271, 304. 

Isle of Pharos, 47. 

Septuagint version, 48. 
Alexander the Great, 301-2. 
AUenby Bridge, 166, 178. 
Amalfi, Italy, 327-30. 

Cappuccini Convent, 327-8. 

Cathedral of St. Andrew, 328-30. 
Amman (Philadelphia, Rabbath 
Ammon), 112, 183, 191-6. 

Amphitheatre, 182, 194. 

Citadel, 195. 

Hotel Philadelphia, 192, 193-4. 

streets of, 191-2. 
Amos, 199, 208. 
Andrew, 31, 239, 329-30. 
Anti-Lebanons, the, 169, 246, 248-9, 

250, 263, 291, 293. 
Appii Forum, 334. 
Aquila, 317, 342, 344- 
Arabs, the, 44, 51, 79, "5> Il6 > I2 7, 
144, 160, 170, 172, 183, 191, 204, 
221, 226-7, 265, 266, 267, 269, 303. 
Aries, France, 29-30. 
Aristarchus, 37, 339. 
Ashdod, 42. 
Ashkelon, 42. 

Assyria, 45, 248. 

Assyrians, the,. 79, 108-10, 202, 207, 
. 214, 277, 297-8, 303. 
Athens, 45, 304, 305-14, 3 I 5, 3*7- 
Acropolis, 7, 263, 304, 306, 307-9, 

310, 311, 312, 313, 314. 
Agora, the, 187, 307. 
Areopagus, Mars Hill, 307, 308, 

Parthenon, 304, 306, 308-9, 310, 

3i3, 3i4. 

Prophylea, 308, 313. 

Temple of Athena Ntki, 313. 

Temple of Erechtheus, 309, 313. 

Temple of Jupiter, 307. 

Temple of Theseum, 306, 314. 

Theatre of Dionysus, 307, 314. 

Tower of Winds, 307, 314. 
Athlit, 277, 278, 289. 
Augustus Caesar, 145, 208, 249. 

Baal, priests of, 215, 287. 

worship of, 104, 207-8, 266, 301. 
Baalbek, 263-70. 

Acropolis, 264-66, 267-70. 

Great Temple, 266, 267-9, 2 7* 

Temple of Bacchus, 266, 267. 

village of, 264. 
Babylonians, the, 79, 86. 
Banias, 169. 
Barada. See Abana. 
Bashan, 249. 

Bay of Naples, 314, 3*7-8, 327, 333. 
Bay of Phaleron, 35, 304, 314. 
Bay of St. George, 292-3. 
Bedouin, the, 75-6, 78, 89, 104, 128, 
161, 164, 178, 180-3, 215, 232, 
234-6, 249. 
Beeroth, 198. 
Beirut, 258, 274, 289, 292-5, 302. 


3 6 


Beka a, Plain of, 263, 292. 

Benjamin, tribe of, 127. 

Bethabara, 175. 

Bethany, 117, n8, iS 8 "^ * 

Bethlehem, Palestine, 75, 77, 94, 128, 

140-57, 169, 273. 
bus ride to, 156-7. 
cave of Nativity, 149, i5"5 2 - 
Church of Nativity, i46~5 2 , 3 2 6. 
dress of Arab women, i45~7- 
road to, 18, 94, i4, * 28 , *4Q-3, 

*55, 156-7. 

Shepherds Field, 142-3* i5 2 ~4- 

stars above, i54~5- 

streets of, I43~5> r 47- 

Well of Magi, 141-2, 150, 155. 
Bethsaida, 227, 236, 241, 330. 

Church of Loaves and Fishes, 236. 
Bethsaida Julias, 246. 
Bethshean, 170. 
Bridge of Jacob s Daughters, 246. 

Caesarea, 27, 37, *9 8 , 20<5 > 277, 2 78> 

279-84, 289, 321- 
Caesarea Philippi, 249, 349- 
Caiaphas, 93, 95, 106, 122. 
Cairo, Egypt, 33, 46, 48-72, 37- 

Ben Ezra Synagogue, 53. 

Citadel, 72. 

Continental-Savoy Hotel, 67-8. 

Heliopolis, 69-71. 

Holy Family in Egypt, 69, 70-1. 

Mataria, 70-1. 

Mena House, 55. 

Moses in Egypt, 49, 5, 5*-3, 54, 
57, 59-6, 68-70- 

mosques of, 61-3, 72. 

Museum, 57-9* 

"Musky," the, 33, 64-7. 

Nile River, 49~53, 7*, 7 2 , 171-2- 

Pyramids of Gizeh, 40, 45, 54, 55~7> 
60, 72, 263. 

road to, 48-50. 

Roda, Island of, 52. 

Shepheard s Hotel, 67-8. 

Sphinx, the, 55, 56, 60. 

streets of, 60-1, 64-6, 67-8, 72, 

Temple of Sphinx, 55, 56. 
Calvary. See Jerusalem. 

Cana, 210, 223-4. 

Canaan, 41, 43, 4<5, 49, *37, I 7i J 7 2 , 

199, 204, 215. 
Canaanites, the, 4*~ 2 , 5 8 I 33- 
Cape Malea, 316. 
Capernaum (Tell Hum), 210, 220, 222, 

225, 227, 232, 233, 236-41, 245* 
Jesus at, 222, 236-41. 
lakeside at, 240-1. 
Peter s house, 239-40. 
synagogue, 237-9, 240. 
Capri, 317. 

Carmelites, the, 286, 289. 
Castle by the Pools, 129-30. 
Castor and Pollux, 47, 3 l8 , 333- 
Cedars of Lebanon, 25, 276, 293, 301. 
Chorazin, 245. 
Christians, 30, 38, 48, 83-5, 301, 3 2 i, 

333-5, 339, 34 2 , 347, 35 2 ~5- 
Church, early, 23, 26, 334, 335, 337, 

339, 342-4, 350-1, 352. 
Cleopatra, 51, 178- 
Cnossus, 40. 
Colossae, 341, 342. 
Constantine, 119, i5r, 267. 
Corinth, 315-7, 343- 
Isthmus of, 315-7- 
Crete (Caphtor), 6, 22, 37~45, 5*, 345- 

Fair Havens, 37-8. 
Cretans, the, 40-45- 
Cross: Calvary, 355; Rome, 355~6- 
Crusaders, the, 79, 82, 90, 135, 214, 
216, 261, 283, 286, 300, 303. 

Damascus, Syria, 6, 33, 75, 131, i5 x 
198, 219, 245, 250-61, 291, 292, 

293, 37- 

Arch of Triumph, 259, 260. 
Azm Palace, 255-6. 
bazaars, 253-4. 
house of Judas, 252. 
khan, 151, 256-7. 
Mosque of Omayades, Grand 

Mosque, 257-6r. 
Paul s conversion, 250-3. 
Street called Straight, 33, 151, 188, 

2 5 2 253. 

tomb of Saladin, 261. 
Wall of, 255. 



David, King, 43, 7&, 79, 86, 127-9, 
I3 1 * 195-6, 197, 216, 287. 

Dead Sea (Salt Sea), 118, 142, 161, 
168, 169, 170, 171, 176, 178, 242, 


Decapolis, 162, 188. 
Diana of Ephesus, 28. 
Dionysus, 313. 
Dog River, 294, 295-8. 
Dome of Rock. See Jerusalem. 
Domitian, 313, 354- 
Dothan, 211. 
Drusilla, 280-1, 321. 

Egypt, 22, 40, 41, 46-72, 131* l66 > 

204, 302, 306, 348. 
caravan route to and from, 46, 75-6, 

130, 277. 

Egyptians, the, 45, 54-5, 57-8, 79, 33- 
Ekron, 42, 

Elijah, 173-4, 207, 215, 286, 287-8,301. 
Elisha, 173-5* *99, 207, 213-4, 250, 


El Kantara, 73-4. 
El Kuneitra, 247-8. 
En Rogel, 106. 
Ephesus, 301, 342, 344, 345- 
Esdrealon, Plain of, 75, 212, 213-6, 

219, 288. 

Evil Counsel, Hill of, 104, 106. 
Ezion-geber, 25. 

Fair Havens. See Crete. 

Fellah, Fellaheen, the, 49, 54* 106, 

221, 232. 

Felix, 279-81, 321. 

Festus, 279, 281-3. 

Field of Blood, 106. 

Flowers, fruits, plants, and ^rees, 33, 
49, 54, 75, 76-8, 81, 82, 87, 94, 98, 
104, 107, 113-4, H9, 120-5, 127, 
129, 130-1, 136, 142, 143, 145, 
158-9, 161, 162, 168, 170, 178-80, 
184, 185, 192, 197, 199, 200, 204, 

205, 206, 211, 213, 217, 2l8, 221, 
224, 225, 227, 232-3, 234-5, 236, 
238, 239, 240-1, 241-2, 245-6, 

247, 249, 251-2, 255-6, 272-3, 

278, 279, 285-6, 288, 289-90, 291, 

292, 293-4, 295, 305, 306, 327, 
331, 336-7, 346. 

Formiae, 334. 

France, 21, 28-36, 313. 

Franciscans, the, 122, 237, 238. 

Gadara, 231, 233-4, 242, 245. 
Galileans, the, 234-6. 
Galilee, province of, 70, 200, 210-11, 
212-243, 246, 329, 348-9- 

fishermen, Arab, 227-8. 

hills of, 182, 213-4, 222, 235, 329-30. 

road from, to Syria, 244-6, 247-53. 

road to, from Nazareth, 220, 222, 

Sea of, 77, 170, 210, 222, 223, 224- 

43, 245- 

Gath, 42, 43, 77- 
Gaza, 40, 42, 43, 75, *3, 272. 
Gehenna. See Hinnom. 
Gennesaret, Plain of, 225, 241-3, 245. 
Gerasa. See Jerash. 
Gh6r, Valley of, 75, 172. 
Gibeah, 198. 
Gibraltar, 17-8, 20, 344. 
Gideon, 215. 

Gihon, 108-9, no, 111-2. 
Gilead, 166, 173, 179-86, 276. 

Mountains of, 162, 178, 183, 184, 

186, 218, 232, 233. 
Goshen, 46, 73. 

Great Britain, 20, 21, 71, 79* 84, 214. 
Greece, 22, 304-14, 315. 

Habiru, the, 41, 59- 

Hadrian, 95. 

Haifa, 215, 284-91, 303. 

Convent, 288-90, 291. 

Mount Carmel, 25, 75, 213, 214, 215, 
219, 245, 277, 279, 284, 285-90. 

Stella Maris Lighthouse, 286, 291. 
Hatshepsut, Queen, 52, 57, 166. 
Hebron, 126-39, 273. 

glass-makers, 135. 

Haram el Khalil, 133-4- 

Machpelah, cave of, 133. 

oak at Mamre, 136-8. 

potter of, 134-5- 

road to, 126-33. 



Hebrews, the, 23-6, 41-4, 59, 6 9> IO 4, 
105, 106, 128, 163-6, 167, 204, 298. 

Herculaneum, Italy, 318, 319, 320, 
321, 322. 

Hercules, Pillars of. See Gibraltar. 

Herod Agrippa H, 279, 282-3. 

Herod Antipas, 282. 

Herod the Great, 70, 94-5, 122, 208, 
209, 242, 279, 280, 282, 283. 

Hezekiah, King, 108-10. 

Hinnom Valley, 79, 98, 104-6. 

Hiram, King, 116, 266. 

Hittites, the, 303. 

Holy Land, 22-3, 58. 

Horns of Hattin. See Mt. Beatitudes. 

Hosea, 27, 208. 

Isaac, 134, 141- 

Isaiah, 78, 92, 109-11, 192, 205, 244-5, 

284, 285, 297, 298. 
Italy, 21, 22, 38, 47> 3*7-$ 6 - 
Italian Hospice, Galilee, 227, 231-4. 

Jabbok River, 184-6. 

Jacob, 69, 76, 134, 14*1 184-6, 199, 

202, 2O4. 

Jacob Nusaibeh, Doorkeeper at 
Church of Holy Sepulchre, 84, 
126, 129, 177, 178, 182-3, 257. 

Jacob s Well, 200-2. 

Jaffa, Port of (Joppa), 24, 94, 129, 245, 

271-8, 284. 
Dorcas, 277. 
Simon s house, 276-7. 

Jenin, 212. 

Jerash, Trans-Jordan, 186-91, 307, 


Street of Columns, 188-9, 190, 263. 
Temple of Artemis, 189. 
Triumphal Arch, 187. 
Jeremiah, 78, 92, 105, 299. 
Jericho, ancient, 41, 75, 158, 162, 

163-6, 170, 173, 178, 
modern, 112, 162, 169, 171, 178. 
road to, 161-2, 177-8. 
Jerusalem, 7, 30, 33, 58, 77, 78-125, 
126, 129, 158, 169, 176, 187, 195, 
196, 197, 198, 202, 273, 276, 307, 
340. 349- 

Antonia, Tower of, 86, 122. 
Armenian Quarter, 94-8. 
Christian Street, 82, 98. 
Church of Holy Sepulchre (Calvary) , 

80, 82, 83-5, 98-9, 112, 126, 
Citadel, the, 94, 104. 
Coenaculum (Last Supper), 93, 94-7, 

340, 355- 

Convent of Sisters of Zion, 100-2. 

Damascus Gate, 79-80, 112, 116, 
158, 197. 

David Street, 80, 81, 87, 98, 187. 

Dome of the Chain, 89. 

Dome of the Rock, 33, 80, 86-9, 122, 
123, 124, 197, 258. 

Ecce Homo Arch, 100. 

Golden Gate, 123. 

Gordon s Calvary, 112, 113-4- 

Herod s Gate, 197. 

Jaffa Gate, 67, 80, 94, 116, 126. 

Jaffa Road, 94. 

Mosque el Aksa, 90, 124. 

Mount Moriah, 80, 141, 202. 

Mount Zion, 80, 93-98, 104. 

Pool of Bethesda, 98-100. 

Praetorium, 86, 101-2, 122; (Judge 
ment Hall, 99, 101-2; "Gab- 
batha," 101-2). 

St. Stephen s Gate, 99. 

Solomon s Quarries, 114-6, 197. 

Solomon s Stables, 90. 

streets of, 80-2, 94, 98-9. 

Temple, the, 115-6, 122. 

Temple area, the (Haram), 80, 86- 
90, 91, 116, 321. 

Via Dolorosa, 85-6, 98-100. 

Wailing Wall, 80, 82, 90-2, 133. 

Wall of, 79-80, 103-116, 169, 197. 
Jesus, 20, 23, 25-6, 32, 36, 53, 76, 78, 
83-5, 88-9, 93 95-8, 99-100, 
100-2, 105, 113-4, 117-8, 119-20, 
122-5, 130, 143, 149, i5*-4, 159, 
162, 172, 175-6, 187, 188, 189-90, 

199, 200-2, 203, 210, 212, 214, 
217, 218-20, 221, 222, 223-4, 
225-6, 227-8, 230-1, 233-4, 236- 
41, 243, 248, 249, 298, 301, 311, 

3 2 9, 330, 340, 349, 351- 
Jews, Orthodox, 91-2, 133. 



Jezebel, 206-7. 
Jezreel, 212, 213. 

Plain of, 215, 245. 
Jochebed, 52. 
John the Baptist, 89, 172, 175-6, 178, 


Jonathan, 43, 216. 
Jordan, Plain of, 162. 

River, 41, 75, 118, 142, 163, 166-9, 

170-5, 176, 177, 178, 195, 246, 247. 

Valley of, 118, 162, 169-70, 218, 219 


Joseph, Tomb of, 205. 
Joshua, 41, 59, 163-7, 178, 198, 199, 

202, 301. 

Judah, tribe of, 128. 
Judea, land of, 78, 216, 271, 273. 
Mountains of, 77-8, 127, 173, 272, 

273, 279. 

Wilderness of, 90, 161, 169-71, 173, 
176, 177, 195. 

ELidron, the brook, in, 124, 158, 169. 
Valley of, 79, 90, 98, 106-7, 111-2, 

117, 124, 197. 
Kishon River, 169, 215, 287, 289. 

Lazarus, 31-2, 159. 

Lebanon, 22, 279, 292-8. 

Lebanons, the, 263, 279, 291, 292, 

293-4, 299. 

Luke, 27, 37, 39, 279, 339, 345. 
Lydda (Lud), 76-7, 277, 

Magdala, 241, 2^2-3, 245. 

Majorca, 28. 

Malta, Island of, 37, 39, 47* 333- 

Mamre, Plain of, 130, 136. 

Marathon, 309, 311. 

"Mare Nostrum," Our Sea, 21-2, 24, 

Mark, John, 48, 93, 340. 

Marseilles, France, 21, 28-36, 286, 

" bouillabaise," 34. 

Chateau d lf, 35. 

Church of Notre Dame de la Garde, 
28, 34-6. 

Church of St. Victor, 31-2. 

La Major, Cathedral de, 31. 

Palais de Longchamps, 32. 

streets of, 30-34. 
" Vieux Porte," the, 30-1, 34. 
Martha, 32, 159. 

Martyrs, Christian, 301, 345-6, 35^5- 
Mary Magdalene, 243. 
Mary, mother of Jesus, 89, 95, 141, 

145, 150, 217-8, 257. 
Meccan pilgrims, 132-3, 138-9. 
Mediterranean Sea, 5, 17, 18-27, 28, 

34, 37-40, 206, 219, 271, 276, 278, 

284, 296, 300, 301, 302, 327, 331, 
Megiddo, 212, 214, 219, 245. 
Micah, 104, 209. 
Minorca, 128. 
Minos, King, 40. 
Mizpah, 198. 
Moab, Mountains of, 118, 142, 162, 

173, 242. 
Moses. See also Cairo. 118,131,166, 

167, 173, 174. 
Moslems, the, 60, 62, 84, 85, 88, 95, 

96, 126, 133, 135, 139, 230, 258, 

260, 261, 262. 
Mount of Beatitudes, 222, 224, 227, 

231, 236, 245, 246. 
Mount CarmeL See Haifa. 
Mount Ebal, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 

Mount Gerizim, 200, 201-2, 203, 204, 


Mount Gilboa, 213, 215-6, 219, 290. 
Mount Hermon, 25, 75, 162, 166, 218, 

225, 226, 246, 248-9, 250, 289. 
Little Hermon, 213, 214, 216, 219, 


Mount Hymettus, 305, 309, 310. 
Mount Lycabettus, 305, 309, 310. 
Mount Moriah. See Jerusalem. 
Mount Nebo, 1 18. 
Mount of Offense, 98, 107. 
Mount of Olives, 75, 90, 97-8, 112, 

117-25, 158, 169, 197. 
Chapel of Ascension, 119. 
Church of Mary Magdalene, 1 19-20. 
Church of Pater Noster, 119-20. 
Gethsemane, Garden of, 71, 95, 98, 

112, 117, 122-5, 355. 

Russian Tower, 118. 
View from, 118, 122-3. 



Mount of Precipitation. See Naza 
Mount Tabor, 25, 75, 214, 216, 219, 

Mount of Temptation (Quarantania), 


Mount Zion. See Jerusalem. 
Mount Vesuvius. See Pompeii. 

Naaman, 175, 250, 258. 
Nablus, 202, 203, 205. 
Nablus Road, 197. 
Nain, 53, 219. 

Naples, 317-8, 327, 33i, 332. 
Nazareth, 25, 75, 80, 167, 210, 214, 
216-22, 236, 245. 

Austrian Hospice, 220, 221. 

Carpenter Shop, 217, 221* 

Church of the Annunciation, 217. 

Church of St. Joseph, 217. 

Hilltop, the, 217, 218-220. 

Mount of Precipitation, 214, 216. 

streets of, 220-1. 

Virgin s Fountain., 217-8. 

Nebi Samwtl, 198. 
Nero, 283, 321. 
Nile River. See Cairo. 
Nob, 198, 200. 

Og, King, 249. 
Ornri, King, 206, 209. 
Onesimus, 341-2. 
Ophel, in. 
Ortus, 129. 

Palestine, land of, 22, 41, 44, 59, 70, 
74-178, 191, 197-246, 271-91, 
296, 306. 

Palestine Museum, 112, 206, 242. 

Palestine Riviera, 271, 277-8, 274, 

Parables, Jesus , 161, 203, 219-20, 241, 

Paul, the apostle, 6, 23, 26-7, 37-40, 
47, 80, 121, 198, 250-3, 254-5, 
279-84, 294, 301, 307, 309~i3, 
3I3-I4, 3i6-i7, 3i8, 319, 321, 
333-47, 35^-2. 

Peleset tribe, the, 41. 
Peter, the apostle, 48, 93, 94, 98, 239- 
40, 249, 276-7, 311, 321, 329, 334, 

340, 345-7, 349-50. 
Pharpar River, 250. 
Philip, the evangelist, 130. 
Philippi, 121, 340. 
Philistia, 43, 76. 
Philistines, the, 24, 41-44, 75, 128-9, 

214, 216, 276. 

Philadelphia. See Amman. 
Phoceans, the, 28-9. 
Phoenicia, 22, 51, 206, 277, 295, 298- 

Phoenicians, the, 21, 24, 25, 45, 115-6, 

135, 276, 294. 

Pilate, Pontius, 100-2, 129. 
Piraeus, 304, 305. 
Pompeii, 188, 190, 318, 319-27. 

Forum, the, 320, 323. 

Great Theatre, the, 323, 325-6. 

houses of, 322-3. 

Mount Vesuvius, 317, 318, 319-21, 

323, 327* 

Temple of Apollo, 323. 

Via delPAbbondanza, 324-5. 
Priscilla, 317, 342-4, 345- 
Provence, 29-30. 

Puteoli, Italy, 318, 321, 332-4, 339- 
Pyramids. See Cairo. 

Quail, the, 59-60. 

Rabbath Ammon. See Amman. 
Rachel, Tomb of, 141. 
Ramah, 198. 

Rephaim, Plain of, 127-8. 
Roda, Island of. See Cairo. 
Rome, 6, 27, 33, 45, 152, 283, 312, 313, 
3i9, 321, 332, 334, 338-56. 

Abbey of Three Fountains, 346. 

Aventine Hill, 343. 

Arch of Titus, 321, 351. 

Caelian Hill, 338. 

Catacombs, the, 337, 339, 34<5-7> 

Church of St. Clement, 350. 

Church of St. Marie Maggiore, 152. 

Church of St. Paul s-without-the 
Walls, 347-8, 351, 



Church of St. Peter s, 348-50. 
Church of St. Prisca, 342-4, 350. 
Church of St. Pudenziana, 350. 
Church of St. Sebastian, 346. 
Circus Maximus, the, 338, 348. 
Colosseum, the, 352-6. 
Forum, the, 321, 350-1. 
"Hired house" of Paul s, 338, 339- 


House of Hermes, 346-7. 
Janiculum Hill, 348. 
Mamertine Prison, 345. 
Nero s Circus, 345, 349. 
Palatine Hill, 312. 
Pantheon, the, 351-2. 
Paul at, 319, 321, 339-47, 350-2. 
Paul s journey to, 332-9. 
Peter at, 321, 334, 340, 345~7, 349~ 


Piazza del Popolo, 69, 348. 
Piazza San Pietro, 349. 
Pincian Hill, 348. 
Porta Capena, 338. 
Porta San Sebastiano, 339. 
Pyramid of G. Cestius, 346. 
Sacra Via, 351. 
Via Appia, 332, 334-9- 
Via Ostia, 346, 347, 348. 
Roman Empire, 22, 26, 269, 279, 332, 

Romans, the, 79, 112, 131, 214, 265, 
266, 294, 295, 303, 321, 332, 336. 
Rosh Pinna, 246-7. 
Ruth, 142. 

"Sakiyeh," the, 50, 54- 
Saladin, 72, 216, 261. 
Samaria, 197, 202, 208, 211-2. 

city of, 205-9. 

hill of, 205, 209. 

Mountains of, 200, 214, 219. 

road to, 197-200. 

Street of Columns, 208-9. 

woman of, 201-2, 203. 
Samaritans, the, 202-3, 205, 
Samson, 43, 75- 
Samuel, 198, 199, 200. 
Sarah, 55, I33~4, *37-9- 
Saul, King, 43, 198, 215-6. 

Sennacherib, 108, 297. 

Sepphoris, 218. 

Sharon, Plain of (Maritime Plain), 78, 

219, 245, 272, 277-8, 279. 
Shechem, 59, 131, 200, 201, 203, 204, 

205, 273. 
Sheep and shepherd in Holy Land, 77, 

94, 104, 116, 127, 136, 142-3, 

152-4, 161, 296. 
Shiloh, 199-200, 273. 
Shunem, 213-4. 
Sidon, 25, 37, 45, 75, 276, 289, 298, 

299-31, 302. 
Siloam, Pool of, 10711. 
Tunnel of, 109-11. 
village of, 98, 103, 107, 108. 
Sinai, 74, 204. 

Desert of, 75. 
Sodom, apples of, 178. 
Solomon, King, 25, 78, 86, 107, in, 

115, 116, 129, 193, 266, 276, 285, 


Solomon s Pools, 90, 129. 
Solomon s Temple, 86, 88, 115-6, 123, 

180, 265, 276, 294. 
Sorrento, Italy, 331. 
Spain, 21, 27, 28. 
St. Ignatius, 355. 
St. Telemachus, 355. 
Storms on Galilee, 39, 228-31, 234. 
Straits of Messina, 317. 
Stromboli, 317. 
Suez Canal, 22, 73. 
Sychar, 200, 201. 
Syria, 22, 27, 168, 214, 245? 247-70, 

291, 296, 298. 
Syrians, the, 214, 294. 

Tabgha, 225; 226-30, 236. 

Tarshish, 25. 

Tel Aviv. 272, 278, 284. 

Tel el Amarna, 41, 58-9. 

Tell Hum. See Capernaum. 

Terracina, 334. 

Thotmes HI, 41, 166, 277. 

Tiberias, city of, 210, 225, 226, 242, 


Timothy, 39, 279, 339, 342, 34*:, 345- 
Titus, 39, 78, Q5> 105, 321, 344- 



Tophet, 104. 

Trans-Jordan, 166, 168, 177, 178-96. 

Tychicus, 339. 

Tyre, 25, 45, 75, 276, 289, 298, 301-2, 

Tyropean, Valley of, 80, 107-11. 

Via Appia. See Rome. 

Via Maris, Way of the Sea, 223, 242, 

Virgin s statue, 28, 34-6, 286, 288, 


Wadi el Arish, 59. 
Wadi Hamman, 242. 
Wadi Jabbok, 185. 
Wadi Nimrim, 179. 
Wadi Zerka, 184. 
Well of Magi, 141. 

Yarmuk River, 168, 249. 

Zarephath, 301. 

Zionism, 44, 91-2, 160, 215, 221.